[Python-Dev] Package install failures in 2.6.3

Ned Deily nad at acm.org
Mon Oct 5 14:06:56 CEST 2009

There has been some discussion on the distutils-sig list over the past 
few days about a change to distutils released with 2.6.3 which 
inadvertently causes a number (all?) packages with C extensions that use 
setuptools/easy_install to fail during builds/installs with a rather 
cryptic error message.  A number of popular packages are affected 
directly or indirectly through dependencies.

The problem is summarized in the issue tracker here;
which includes links to the distutils list archive and the setuptools 
and Distribute project bug trackers.

Assuming that distutils is not changed in a forthcoming 2.6.4, users 
and, possibly package maintainers, will need to take some action: either 
migrate from setuptools to Distribute (an easy migration), or wait for a 
fix to setuptools or the package or to the distribution (if there is 

I'm not proposing to debate the merits of all of the options here.  
However, if a 2.6.4 release is to be pushed out quickly for other 
reasons,  a one-time window of opportunity would be available and it 
would be prudent to at least consider the possibility of a distutils fix.

In any case, it seems like there should be some effort to make package 
maintainers aware of the problem so they can take whatever steps 
necessary to update their packages or help files or web sites etc.

 Ned Deily,
 nad at acm.org

More information about the Python-Dev mailing list