Time for a Python "distribution" ? was:Not enough Python library development

Bruce Sass bsass at freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Thu Jul 5 16:30:43 EDT 2001

On Thu, 5 Jul 2001, Chris Barker wrote:
> My proposal is to create a Python "Distribution" that includes a large
> collection of what are becoming standard modules, but are maintained by
> folks other than the core Python team. I'm modeling this idea on the
> Linux Distributions: the kernel developers don't make any effort to
> package up Linux as a useful system; other organizations do that. There
> are now a lot of them, and some are substantial commercial enterprises,
> but it all started with SLS and then Slackware, etc.

Your model is flawed.
I use Debian, and, except for really simple packages, can not install
RH, Mandrake, SuSe, Caldera, or any other non-Debian Linux
distribution's packages on my system... I can convert the packages and
physically install with no problem, but the closer the software needs
to work with the system (as opposed to user-space) the more I risk
breaking the system... I would not want that to happen to Python.

> It really wouldn't even be that much work:

I suggest you snoop around the Developer's Corner at www.debian.org,
check out policy papers, guides, etc.

There are a lot of parallels between a Linux Distribution like Debian
and Python... a diverse user base, lots of bits'n'pieces that need to
come together for everyone at the same time, a whole bunch of
volunteers to coordinate, security concerns, web space to allocate,
procedures to implement, etc.

True, Debian is a lot larger than Python will get anytime soon, over
6000 packages and 800 volunteers (last time I looked), so some of the
stuff (like voting procedures) is not applicable at this time -- but
the issues and concerns are the same, and they are consistently rated
as one of the top Linux Distributions.

I like the idea of a packaged Python distribution, and am scared that
it could turn out like Linux (will we will be hashing out a Python
Standard Base in a few years) if the packaging is not initiated by
Python...  ActiveState, (the proposed) Comprehensive Python, and
whoever else wants to can then build on the distribution -- enhancing
and extending it, instead of taking the risk of fragmenting Python
into various flavours.

- Bruce

More information about the Python-list mailing list