[Python-Dev] how GNU stow is complementary rather than alternative to distutils

Zooko O'Whielacronx zookog at gmail.com
Sun May 10 20:21:57 CEST 2009


following-up to my own post to mention one very important reason why
anyone cares:

On Sun, May 10, 2009 at 12:04 PM, Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn <zooko at zooko.com> wrote:

> It is a beautiful, elegant hack because it is sooo dumb.  It is also very
> nice to use the same tool to manage packages written in any programming
> language, provided only that they can build a directory tree of the right
> shape and content.

And, you are not relying on the author of the package that you are
installing to avoid accidentally or maliciously screwing up your
system.  You're not even relying on the authors of the *build system*
(e.g. the authors of distutils or easy_install).  You are relying
*only* on GNU stow to avoid accidentally or maliciously screwing up
your system, and GNU stow is very dumb, so it is easy to understand
what it is going to do and why that isn't going to irreversibly screw
up your system.

That is: you don't run the "build yourself and install into $prefix"
step as root.  This is an important consideration for a lot of people,
who absolutely refuse on principle to ever run "sudo python
./setup.py" on a system that they care about unless they wrote the
"setup.py" script themselves.  (Likewise they refuse to run "sudo make
install" on packages written in C.)

Regards,

Zooko



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