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

Chris Barker chrishbarker at home.net
Thu Jul 5 20:47:22 CEST 2001

Hi all,

I've been thinking about this for a while, and been meaning to post, but
this thread got me rolling again. It seems many folks are faced with the
same problem I have, which is that my programs rely on a number of
modules that are not part of the standard library. For example, I
recently upgraded to 2.1, and had to download and install: Python,
Numeric, mxTools, wxPython, and PIL. I needed to do this for both Linux
and Windows, and might have to do the Mac soon (no wx yet :-( ). Guido
had made it pretty clear that merging all these modules (and more) into
the standard library is impractical for a number of reasons.

Unfortunately, not having all the major modules available for a single
source really is a big limitation. Not only do people like me have to
spend a whole lot more time installing stuff, developers are limited as
to what they can expect a Python installation to include. This means
that you either don't use what would be a useful module, or you are
faced with distributing a bunch of extra stuff with your module or
program. An example is the Numeric package: there have been re-writes of
tkPlotCanvas so that "it doesn't require Numeric", and wxPython is
unable to include some nice optimizations for receiving data from
Numeric arrays because Robin doesn't want to have another dependency his
users will need to deal with.

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.

It really wouldn't even be that much work: Each of us has already done
it for our own systems. Put a small group together, get a web site, and
we'd be rolling. I'm really not looking to do anything more extensive
than the old "Python on Linux" pages, except that it wouldn't be just
Linux, and we would try to maintain a fairly constant list of supported

I'd be willing to do some of the coordinating, and maintain at least a
portion of the Linux section. I could even offer some of my personal web
space, but it probably should be on Sourceforge or at python.org, or
something central with a catchy title.

The short version is that I'd like people to be able to say that their
program or module runs on "Comprehensive Python 2.1", which can be
downloaded from "http://ComprehensivePython.org". At that web site would
be a easy way to download a whole package for a couple of flavors of
Linux, Windows, Macintosh, other *nixs, etc.

If there is a least a small group of people interested, send me a note,
and lets get started on the organization details.


Christopher Barker,
ChrisHBarker at home.net                 ---           ---           ---
http://members.home.net/barkerlohmann ---@@       -----@@       -----@@
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