[SciPy-dev] Re: [Numpy-discussion] Trying out Numeric3

Michiel Jan Laurens de Hoon mdehoon at ims.u-tokyo.ac.jp
Sat Mar 26 21:23:29 EST 2005

Pearu Peterson wrote:
 > Michiel Jan Laurens de Hoon wrote:
>> Have you tried integrating scipy_distutils with Python's distutils? My 
>> guess is that Python's distutils can benefit from what is in 
>> scipy_distutils, particularly the parts dealing with C compilers. A 
>> clean integration will also prevent duplicated code, avoids Pearu 
>> having to keep scipy_distutils up to date with Python's distutils, and 
>> will enlarge the number of potential users. Having two distutils 
>> packages seems to be too much of a good thing.
> No, I have not. Though a year or so ago there was a discussion about 
> this in distutils list, mainly for adding Fortran compiler support to 
> distutils. At the time I didn't have resources to push scipy_distutils 
> features to distutils and even less so for now. So, one can think that 
> scipy_distutils is an extension to distutils, though it also includes
> few bug fixes for older distutils.

Having a separate scipy_distutils that fixes some bugs in Python's distutils is 
a design mistake in SciPy that we should not repeat in Numeric3. Not that I 
don't think the code in scipy_distutils is not useful -- I think it would be 
very useful. But the fact that it is not integrated with the existing Python 
distutils makes me wonder if this package really has been thought out that well.

As far as I can tell, scipy_distutils now fulfills four functions:
1) Bug fixes for Python's distutils for older Python versions. As Numeric3 will 
require Python 2.3 or up, these are no longer relevant.
2) Bug fixes for current Python's distutils. These should be integrated with 
Python's distutils. Writing your own package instead of contributing to Python 
gives you bad karma.
3) Fortran support. Very useful, and I'd like to see them in Python's distutils. 
Another option would be to put this in SciPy.fortran or something similar. But 
since Python's distutils already has a language= option for C++ and Objective-C, 
the cleanest way would be to add this to Python's distutils and enable 
4) Stuff particular to SciPy, for example finding Atlas/Lapack/Blas libraries. 
These we can decide on a case-by-case basis if it's useful for Numeric3.


Michiel de Hoon, Assistant Professor
University of Tokyo, Institute of Medical Science
Human Genome Center
4-6-1 Shirokane-dai, Minato-ku
Tokyo 108-8639

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