[Python-Dev] Usefulness of site-python?

Guido van Rossum guido at python.org
Wed Oct 23 17:14:05 CEST 2013

On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 2:46 AM, Antoine Pitrou <solipsis at pitrou.net> wrote:

> Hello,
> I've just discovered there is a little-known feature in site.py: if a
> $PREFIX/lib/site-python exists (e.g. /usr/lib/site-python), it is added
> to sys.path in addition to the versioned site-packages. But only under
> Unix ("if os.sep == '/'").
> Has anyone seen that feature in the real world? Debian doesn't use
> site-python, but its own /usr/share/pyshared.
> For the record, it was added in b53347c8260e with the following commit
> message:
> user:        Guido van Rossum <guido at python.org>
> date:        Wed Sep 03 21:41:30 1997 +0000
> files:       Lib/site.py
> description:
> Give in to Mike Meyer -- add *both* lib/python1.5/packages and
> lib/site-python to the path (if they exist).  This is a reasonable
> compromise.

Wow, a blast from the past. I don't see python-dev archives from those
times but I'm sure there must have been discussion about whether
site-packages were shareable between Python versions. I think history has
shown that it's better to install them per version, so I suggest that we
remove that feature. (People who want it can always patch up their own

--Guido van Rossum (python.org/~guido)
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