[Python-Dev] [Pydotorg] Should we help pythonmac.org?

Jesse Noller jnoller at gmail.com
Tue Aug 19 16:51:41 CEST 2008

On Tue, Aug 19, 2008 at 8:51 AM, Fred Drake <fdrake at acm.org> wrote:
> On Aug 19, 2008, at 3:45 AM, fuzzyman at mail2.webfaction.com wrote:
>> I *thought* (relative Mac newbie), the standard advice was that if you
>> want to install extension modules then you should install your own version
>> of Python and not mess with the system version.
> My understanding is that if there is a system Python, you shouldn't change
> it.  Ever.
> System Python's are for other components of the system; you can use them,
> but shouldn't modify them.  Including installing or updating packages in the
> site-packages directory.
> At Zope Corporation, we use a clean Python for all development and
> deployments.  Nothing gets installed into the site-packages, because
> different applications want different packages (or different versions), and
> we want to deploy with what we test with.
>> Meaning that you have to maintain two Python installs - something that
>> hasn't been a problem for me yet. So even if Mac OS ships with Python 2.6,
>> many users will still want to install their own version.
> Indeed.  I've never had to do anything to maintain the system Python on Mac
> OS X.  It's there, Mac OS X does what it will with it, and I use my private
> (and squeaky clean!) Python installations.
>  -Fred
> --
> Fred Drake   <fdrake at acm.org>

Just to add to this - with the advent of PEP 370[1], we now have the
ability to use per-user site-packages directories. This neatly
sidesteps the problem (for the most part) of tainting the system
installations of python directly.

As for the Mac issue - as a mac user/developer - I only install "big
ticket" packages into the system path - for everything else, I either
use virtualenv.py, a custom python install or the PYTHONPATH

I've personally *never* used a python distribution from macports or
fink - if I need a custom build, I'll do it myself, rather than
install something into the /opt/ tree macports uses - I've had too
many issues with library/binary conflicts with the pre-installed
libraries/tools from twiddling with PATH and LD_LIBRARY_PATH to add
the /opt tree to my environment in order to get compiles/tools to play


[1] http://www.python.org/dev/peps/pep-0370/

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