[IPython-dev] [Numpy-discussion] [matplotlib-devel] Announcing toydist, improving distribution and packaging situation

Gael Varoquaux gael.varoquaux at normalesup.org
Sun Jan 3 06:11:53 EST 2010

On Sun, Jan 03, 2010 at 03:05:54AM -0800, Nathaniel Smith wrote:
> What I do -- and documented for people in my lab to do -- is set up
> one virtualenv in my user account, and use it as my default python. (I
> 'activate' it from my login scripts.) The advantage of this is that
> easy_install (or pip) just works, without any hassle about permissions
> etc. This should be easier, but I think the basic approach is sound.
> "Integration with the package system" is useless; the advantage of
> distribution packages is that distributions can provide a single
> coherent system with consistent version numbers across all packages,
> etc., and the only way to "integrate" with that is to, well, get the
> packages into the distribution.

That works because either you use packages that don't have much hard-core
compiled dependencies, or these are already installed.

Think about installing VTK or ITK this way, even something simpler such
as umfpack. I think that you would loose most of your users. In my lab,
I do lose users on such packages actually.

Beside, what you are describing is possible without package isolation, it
is simply the use of a per-user local site-packages, which now semi
automatic in python2.6 using the '.local' directory. I do agree that, in
a research lab, this is a best practice.


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