[Python-Dev] BDFL delegation for PEP 426 (PyPI metadata 1.3)

Erik Bray erik.m.bray at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 18:27:41 CET 2013

On Sun, Feb 3, 2013 at 5:24 PM, Vinay Sajip <vinay_sajip at yahoo.co.uk> wrote:
> Éric Araujo <merwok <at> netwok.org> writes:
>> Looks like we agree that a basic tool able to bootstrap the packaging
>> story is needed :)
> Agreed. Just because distutils can't easily/reliably build things that are
> better built with SCons/WAF/tup/whatever, doesn't mean that we shouldn't have
> the ability to build pure-Python distributions and distributions including C
> libs and extensions, with the ability to extend easily by third-party tools. It
> just needs to be done in a way which is easy to build on, so the included
> battery stays small and simple. Easier said than done, I know :-)
> Regards,
> Vinay Sajip

Sorry to revive an old-ish discussion--I'm just catching up on things.
 But I just wanted to add that distutils is still pretty okay for
building reasonably complex projects.  Although it does not rise to
the level of complexity of Numpy or SciPy, the Astropy project
(https://github.com/astropy/astropy) has managed to put together a
pretty nice build system on top of mostly-plain distutils (it does use
distribute but primarily just for 2to3 support).

This has necessitated a number of hacks to overcome shortcomings and
bugs in distutils, but most of those shortcomings could probably be
fixed in distutils within the framework of a slightly lifted freeze.
But in any case I haven't found it worthwhile to switch to something
like bento when the batteries included in the stdlib have been mostly
Good Enough. Having fewer installation dependencies has also made it
significantly easier for non-advanced users to install. Even the
distribute requirement doesn't add too much overhead, as most users
have it on their systems by default now, and for those who don't
distribute_setup.py works okay.

TL;DR, strong -1 on the stdlib "getting out of the build business".
Also as I think Nick already mentioned one of the wins of
Setup-Requires-Dist is to have a standard way to bring in extra build
requirements (such as bento) so if we have better support for a
feature like that it's not necessary to "bless" any preferred tool.


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