Python too complex ?!?!?!

Chris Mellon arkanes at
Wed Nov 21 17:55:39 CET 2007

On Nov 20, 2007 2:43 PM, John J. Lee <jjl at> wrote:
> "Chris Mellon" <arkanes at> writes:
> [...]
> > These modules exist, but aren't that common. Certainly anything you're
> > likely to be using in an introductory compsci course is well packaged.
> > And even if it's not, it's really not that hard to create packages or
> > installers - a days work of course prep would take care of the
> > potential problem.
> "A day's worth of course prep" for beginners would let them debug all
> the crap that building MySQLdb on Windows might throw at them, for
> example?  I think not! (MySQLdb, last time I looked, was one of the
> not-so-obscure modules that don't have a Windows installer available
> and kept up to date.  Maybe it does now, but that's not really the
> point.)

A days worth of course prep would allow the professor (or his TA, more
likely) to produce a set of installers that's suitable for use with
the course. This is a comp sci course, not a "how to sysadmin a Python
installation" course.

For the record, it took me less than 3 minutes to install MySqldb, the
first time I've ever needed to do it - I don't like or approve of
MySql. Steps required: Google for "mysql python" and click through 3
or 4 links to the SF download page. Download the binary installer,
from March 2007. Not exactly rocket science.

On a similar note, I have or create executable installers for all the
third party modules I use, because I need to provide them to the
people who do our deployments. This has never been much of a burden.

> I certainly don't recognise what some people have been saying, though.
> It's a rare thing that I have any real pain installing a Python module
> on Linux.  That's not to say you don't need some background knowledge
> about distributions and Python if doing it "by hand", of course
> (rather than with a packaging tool like apt-get).  Occasionally you'll
> want the newest version of something, which will in turn occasionally
> get you into some grim automake issue or similar.  But all of this can
> be entirely avoided in an introductory course -- simply restrict
> yourself to what can be installed with apt-get (if the instructor
> feels they *must* make some new library available, they can always
> package it themselves).
The obstacles as presented in the OP seem pretty bogus to me. Of
course, it's third hand anecdotal evidence, so there's not much of a
reason to believe that the original statement really preserves the
essence of the problem.

I'd be pretty interested if the OP could ask his associate to chime in
with some of the actual issues he encountered

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