how to/help installing impure packages

owl john_nowlan at
Fri Oct 26 19:35:59 CEST 2007

I love easy_install.

I love watching it search and complete.
It's when it doesn't complete that causes me grief.
I don't program a lot these days and am relatively new to python but I
often wind up installing packages on both unix and windows machines
and often the 'build' part of the install fails with not being able to
find the compiler or compile problems.

If there are any articles/pointers that talk about this, i.e. how to
troubleshoot, I'd love to know.

If I was writing such an article I'd start with:
- how easy_install uses distutils (even this is an assumption on my
- where it looks in the env. for stuff on both unix/linux/windows
- what files to tweak to help it find stuff if your env. is different.
- i.e. can I config some file to have packages not try and compile but
use pure python if possible?
- i.e. w/o speedups
- how to work around problems such as easy_install failing because a
site is down
- i.e. how to manually download, 'unpack' & 'build'
- since packages fail to build, how to set things up to download &
keep things around when they fail so you can tinker with it until you
get it working!

I love python, and nothing against impure packages, but when they
cause problems it starts to 'tarnish the dream' of an agnostic


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