[Python-Dev] Distutils and Distribute roadmap

David Lyon david.lyon at preisshare.net
Fri Oct 9 01:50:13 CEST 2009

On Thu, 8 Oct 2009 21:41:21 +0000 (UTC), Antoine Pitrou
<solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:
> I think it's quite trivial actually. Since everybody agrees (except
> PJE)
> that Distribute should replace setuptools, the word will spread and
> quite quickly in the various layers of the community.

I don't think that it's that black and white.

PJE put a lot of work (and creativity) into setuptools. There's some degree
of tragedy if his project gets forked off simply because of failures in
the testing and quality assurance department.

Personally, I find the setuptools code somewhat hard to follow. The style
goes back to early programming by 'masters' where the only person that
could follow it was the master himself.

Sadly, that is not what we need in open source. The newer trend is in 
highly readily readable and easy to understand code.

Tarek is excellent at producing high quality code of the type that
is required. But his programming world (on the mac) isn't full of the 
challenges that we poor other unfortunates face on other platforms face.

Coming back to the point, setuptools is a pretty poor package
to have to fork. It's very difficult to follow and the structure
and implementation is cryptic. Perphaps it's a thankless job
that Tarek has taken on in that regard - but he seems to be handling
the distribute fork quite well.

Being new to python, it's taken me a little while to figure out
the process. But I've decided to write a static metadata pep which
is underway now as an alternate proposal.

Being primarily a hacker, writing nice design documents doesn't come

If there is any distutils roadmap, I'd like to see improvements
that work on Windows. Yes.. python does work on windows and we
can't all get our bosses to change to os-x just yet. 

There's many things in distutils that I could best describe as 
being unfinished or partially done. 

Let me make a few rambling direction suggestions...

 - command line package installation for distutils

   We need a simple script, not based on setuptools to
   allow installation, listing and deinstallation of packages.

   Currently *nothing* exists in distutils to do this.

   It's a **major** failing.

 - Improvements to operation on platform Windows

   Package/Application installation on windows sucks...

   For example, there's no documented way to get your
   programs installed to "\Program Files\myApplication"

   For non windows users, that's where programs are
   supposed to go. Any other place is "evil" - like
   where they are going now.

   If it is only a documentation issue, well can we
   fix that.

   All I'm asking for is a matching "elif sys.platform = 'win32'"
   for every "if sys.platform = 'darwin'".... or less. It's
   not unreasonable...

It's probably a sensible idea for Tarek to keep going with
Distribute. My user experience with setuptools was that it
wasted a lot of my time unnecessarily. 

I'm planning to put Distribute support in the Python Package
Manager project (pythonpkgmgr) for it's next release.



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