[Python-Dev] "setuptools has divided the Python community"

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Wed Mar 25 15:08:28 CET 2009

2009/3/25 Tarek Ziadé <ziade.tarek at gmail.com>:
> I can't hear that setuptools has divided the Python community. It has provided
> solutions to real problems we had in web development. It's unperfect,
> and it has to be
> fixed and integrated into Python. But it should not be done outside Python imho.

It's quite possible that setuptools has solved real issues in the web
development area. But it did so at the expense of ease of use for
people *not* in that area.

I use Python for systems admin scripts, Windows services, and database
management. In my experience (and I agree, it's only one, limited, use
case) availability of download-and-run bdist_wininst installers for
every package I used was the only significant requirement I had for
Python package distribution (I remember pre-distutils days, when being
able to install a 3rd party package on Windows was a nightmare of
build-it-yourself guesswork).

Since setuptools came on the scene, I can state with some certainty
that many packages which would otherwise have been distributed as
bdist_wininst installers, now aren't. In some cases, only source
packages are provided (on the basis that easy_install will build what
you need). In those cases, I can accept that maybe the developer would
not have built Windows installers even before setuptools arrived. But
in a significant number of cases - including setuptools itself!!!! -
binary, version-specific eggs for Windows are provided, but no
bdist_wininst installers. If the developer is willing to build an egg,
he could just as easily have built an installer - but he now has to
choose - build one or the other, or both. And not everyone chooses the
same way.

Hence my comment about "dividing the community". From my limited
perspective, it's about no longer having a standard Windows binary
distribution format used by all, not about some sort of ideological
battles. Sorry for being unclear.


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