[Python-ideas] Looking for input to help with the pip situation

Stephan Houben stephanh42 at gmail.com
Mon Nov 13 15:28:56 EST 2017

Hi Chris,

+1 to all three of these proposals!


2017-11-13 19:57 GMT+01:00 Chris Barker <chris.barker at noaa.gov>:

> This has gotten to be a big thread, and it's a pretty intractable problem,
> but I think there are a few fairly small things that could be done to at
> least make it a bit easier:
> 1) Add python2.exe and python3.exe files to the Windows installers -- am I
> insane or did Windows used to have that? I really think it did -- maybe got
> removed when py.exe was added.
>   1a) alternatively, we could add a "py" executable to the standard linux
> builds, so there would be THAT one way to do it. But I think that's a "BAD
> IDEA" -- the whole "py" thing is not widely know or used, it's not going to
> show up in package install instructions for a LONG time, (actualy we could
> do both anyway)
> Then "python2 -m pip install" would work everywhere (only with new
> installations, but at least with newbies, that's a bit more likely ...)
> 2) Make adding to the PATH in Windows the default. I think there are
> really three user groups:
>    - newbies starting from scratch -- they want it on the PATH
>    - newbies with whatever left over cruft from previous installations on
> their systems -- they want it at the FRONT of their PATH. They SHOULD
> uninstall all the cruft, but if they don't this will still work with as few
> surprises a possible.
>    - not-newbies with a previous version of python they need to continue
> using. They can uncheck the box, or use py.exe
> 3) Make --user be be automatic for pip install. Not actually the default,
> but pip could do a user install if you don't have the permissions for a
> non-user install.
> This means folks might accidentally install in user mode because they
> forgot to type sudo -- but that would be a mostly-sysadmin/sophisticated
> user problem. And maybe have an environment variable of configuration key
> for  "prefer admin install". If tha was set, pip would only install in user
> mode if specifically asked to. I'm can't imagine a case where a user would
> have admin permissions, but want a user install (except people following
> bad practices!)
> Except for the pip change, these would be easy to implement and backward
> compatible. So why not?
> *NOTE:* even if nothing changes with any of this we need to get py.exe
> better documented and advertised -- it doesn't show up in:
> https://docs.python.org/3/faq/windows.html#id2
> for instance.
> In fact, I knew about py.exe (from this discussion), and was writing up
> notes about how to run a Python file (without access to a Windows box) ,
> and it took a LONG time to find ANY documentation of it (adding "py" to a
> google search about something python does not get far...).
> We can do that better, but frankly this may be a lesson on why we can't
> rely on anything "new" to help solve this problem, when maybe we could make
> the "old way" work better and more cross platform.
> -Chris
> --
> Christopher Barker, Ph.D.
> Oceanographer
> Emergency Response Division
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