[Python-Dev] Cannot find documented API in PEP-376 (Database of Installed Python Distributions)

Paul Moore p.f.moore at gmail.com
Mon Apr 15 17:47:16 EDT 2019

On Mon, 15 Apr 2019 at 22:35, Stefano Borini <stefano.borini at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello,
> I am on a PEP scouting effort to check the current status of python
> packaging and its historical context, mostly for learning purposes. I
> noted that the PEP defines some functions for pkgutil (e.g.
> get_distributions), but I cannot find them.
> I tried to do some searching on the mailing list history, but I came
> up with pretty much nothing of value. It appears that the topic was
> last considered in 2009 (the year of the PEP). dist-info was then
> implemented, but I cannot find any information about the missing API,
> nor any additional PEP, except for a brief reference in PEP-427.
> Does anyone have some context for this?
> I understand it was 10 years ago, so it's mostly a curiosity. Thanks.

PEP 376 was part of a rather grand plan to re-engineer a lot of
Python's packaging tools (distutils and setuptools at the time,
mainly). Although the PEP was accepted, a lot of the coding never got
done and ultimately the project was abandoned, and we moved over to a
more incremental approach of improving what was there, rather than
wholesale replacing things. So the PEP itself is something of a
mixture now, some parts that are implemented, some parts that are
relevant in principle but the details never got filled in, and some
parts that simply never happened.

>From what I recall (I was around at the time) a lot of the discussion
was on distutils-sig - did you check the archives of that list in your
searching? But there was a lot of what I would describe as "heated
debate" going on at that point, so it may be hard to find anything
particularly informative.

Hopefully, that's of some use - good luck in your investigations!


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