[Python-Dev] Python and the Linux Standard Base (LSB)

Barry Warsaw barry at python.org
Tue Nov 28 16:26:53 CET 2006

Hash: SHA1

On Nov 28, 2006, at 8:53 AM, Anthony Baxter wrote:

> (The only other packaging thing like this that I'm aware of is
> python-minimal in Ubuntu. This is done for installation purposes
> and wacky dependency issues that occur when a fair chunk of the O/S
> is actually written in Python. It's worth noting that the entirety
> of the Python stdlib is a required package, so it doesn't cause
> issues.)

There's a related issue that may or may not be in scope for this  
thread.  For distros like Gentoo or Ubuntu that rely heavily on their  
own system Python for the OS to work properly, I'm quite loathe to  
install Cheeseshop packages into the system site-packages.  I've had  
Gentoo break occasionally when I did this for example (though I don't  
remember the details now), so I always end up installing my own /usr/ 
local/bin/python and installing my 3rd party packages into there.   
Even though site-packages is last on sys.path, installing 3rd party  
packages can still break the OS if the system itself installs  
incompatible versions of such packages into its site-packages.

Mailman's philosophy is to install the 3rd party packages it requires  
into its own 'pythonlib' directory that gets put first on sys.path.   
It does this for several reasons: I want to be able to override  
stdlib packages such as email with newer versions, I don't want to  
have to mess around at all with the system's site-packages, and I  
don't want updates to the system Python to break my application.

I question whether a distro built on Python can even afford to allow  
3rd party packages to be installed in their system's site-packages.   
Maybe Python needs to extend its system-centric view of site-packages  
with an application-centric and/or user-centric view of extensions?   
The only reason I can think of for Mailman /not/ using its own  
pythonlib is to save on disk space, and really, who cares about that  
any more?  I submit that most applications of any size will have way  
more application data than duplicated Python libraries.

- -Barry

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