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

Chris Barker chrishbarker at home.net
Thu Jul 5 18:39:55 EDT 2001

Paul Prescod wrote:

> I'd suggest you take a look at this:
> http://python.sourceforge.net/peps/pep-0206.html

I had forgotten about that, but I just looked again, and I remember
being all excited about it, but it doesn't seem to have happened:
"proposal for Python 2.0" what happend? Anyway, I do like htat PEP, but
I am thinking of something a little different: what I am thinking of is
a collection of hte final tarballs (or installers, or rpms, or
whatever). How we get to that big package I don't know yet, the ideas in
that PEP are good ones, but no exactly what I had in mind. In general,
I'm imagining that someone installing "Comprehensive Python" (please
someone, give me a better name!) will end up with something that looks
just like a current set-up with a lot of modules installed. They just
wouldn't have had to go to ten places to get it!

> We've discussed this often in the past.

I didn't expect it was an original idea.

> The difference between Python
> and Linux is that people are either willing to wait almost indefinately
> to download an operating system, or they buy it in CD. Python cannot get
> that large.

It also won't get that large, it is a smaller entitiy by it's very
nature. If it did get that large, maybe we could start selling CDs. In
fact Ithikn that revinue stream would be very helpful, but I imagine
Python is small enough (people's net connections are getting alot
faster, too) that not many people would bother buying it. Are many
people buying the activestate cd?

> So you have to make choices about what goes in and what
> stays out. These choices are inevitably controversial.  I think a better
> solution is to make it as easy to install things as possible.

Yes, that's exactly what I'm going for.

> Here's what an ActivePython user does to install 3 out of 4 those
> modules:
> pyppm install Numeric
> pyppm install egenix-mx-base
> pyppm install PIL
> wxPython is next on our list of modules to add. I think that this is a
> more scalable solution than a "fat" Python build because we can include
> as many modules as we can build.

Actually, that's pretty much exactly what I had in mind. In fact, when I
heard about ActiveState Python, I thought it had been done, but when I
looked at the web site, I saw no mention whatsoever about what was
included (except the windows stuff). In fact, I just installed
ActiveStae Python on Windows, and then when and got the other packages
by hand. I guess that means two things:

a) Activestate needs to improve the usability of their web site
b) I need to RTFM !!!

I'm going to go now and look again at ActiveState's Web page...I may be
out of a project. Of course I'd rather it wasn't a commercial entitiy
doing it, but if they do it well, that's fine with me.


Christopher Barker,
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