Bug(s) in Python 3.1.1 Windows installation

Alf P. Steinbach alfps at start.no
Thu Oct 29 01:06:03 CET 2009

* Alf P. Steinbach:
> * Alf P. Steinbach:
>> Hi.
>> Or, to whomever this concerns... ;-)
>> I thought it would be prudent to install 3.1.1 for Windows from 
>> scratch, so I uninstalled everything (CPython, ActivePython), and then 
>> installed Python 3.1.1.
>> In the "Advanced" option I told the installer to compile packages.
>> The compiler then found a few syntax errors apparently in some text 
>> conversion test programs, and finally a message box popped up saying 
>> that "There is a problem with this Windows Installer Package",
>>     http://imgur.com/N6Pbp
>> and the main installation dialog then reported "Python 3.1.1 installer 
>> ended prematurely. [...] Your system has not been modified".
>>     http://imgur.com/0kzMS.png
>> OK, I'll try again /without/ asking it to compile. I'm just reporting 
>> this so that whoever needs to know knows (including maintainers and 
>> people wanting to install this).
> Hm, the installer forgot to clean up, leaving lots of files, so contrary 
> to the dialog's final message the system had been modified.

OK, after failing the Python 3.1.1 installer did manage to leave an uninstaller 
for itself, and I ran that.

(1) Sluggish installer (about 600x slower than necessary)

What should be a simple removal of files and registry keys taking all of 1.5 
seconds or so took about 10 minutes. I've experienced this before with 
Microsoft's installer technology (MSI). Apparently it utilizes the infamuous 
Microsoft "never use an O(n) algorithm where an O(n^2) or O(n^3) algorithm will 
do on a sufficiently fast machine" strategy.

So I suggest switching to some other more light-weight installer technology.

(2) Failure to set up PATH.

Without asking the Python 3.1.1 installer to compile packages it now installed, 
but it failed to set up the PATH environment variable (the ActivePython 
installation also failed to do that, but I worked around it in my writings by 
just not using the "python" command yet, referring to that in a footnote).

The installer did manage to do the rest of that part correctly: file 
associations and PATHEXT variable.

In new command interpreter instance:

<example of="what the Python 3.1.1 installer did manage to do correctly">
C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> echo %pathext%

C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> assoc | find /i "pyt"

C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> ftype | find /i "pyt"
Python.CompiledFile="C:\Program Files\cpython\python31\python.exe" "%1" %*
Python.File="C:\Program Files\cpython\python31\python.exe" "%1" %*
Python.NoConFile="C:\Program Files\cpython\python31\pythonw.exe" "%1" %*

(3) Tkinter not bundled, misleading & incomplete documentation.

With the file associations in place (the installer managed to do that) running 
console programs works fine.

However, running Tkinter based programs does *not* work:

<code filename="ellipse.pyw">
import Tkinter

window = Tkinter.Tk()
window.title( "A fixed size ellipse..." )
window.geometry( "350x200" )            # Client area size, not window size.
window.resizable( width = 0, height = 0 )

canvas = Tkinter.Canvas( window, bg = "white" )
bbox = 2, 2, 347, 197                   # Pixel coors left, top, right, bottom
canvas.create_oval( *bbox, fill = "PeachPuff" )
canvas.pack()                           # Fill the entire client area, please.

window.mainloop()                       # Process events until window is closed.

<example of="Tkinter does not work after installation">
C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> python ellipse.pyw
'python' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.

C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> "C:\Program Files\cpython\python31\python.exe" 
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "ellipse.pyw", line 1, in <module>
     import Tkinter
ImportError: No module named Tkinter

Even after setting up a correct PATH Tkinter does not work:

<example of="Tkinter doesn't work even with correct PATH">
C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> set path=%path%;C:\Program Files\cpython\python31

C:\Documents and Settings\Alf> python ellipse.pyw
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "ellipse.pyw", line 1, in <module>
     import Tkinter
ImportError: No module named Tkinter

Checking I find that while there is a Tkinter folder there is no file 
[Tkinter.py] in this installation, i.e. the Tkinter module is not bundled with 
this distribution.

That's bad news for any novice wanting to start learning the language: a main 
"battery" is missing! The documentation gives the impression that Tkinter can 
just be used, and it could just be used with ActivePython. Here the novice has 
to figure out not only that it isn't there, but also how to get it!

Checking <url: http://pypi.python.org/pypi/>, the package index, nope, no 
Tkinter there.

Typing "tkinter" in the Firefox address bar leads to <url: 
http://wiki.python.org/moin/TkInter>, and it has a recipe for checking for 
Tkinter support/installation:

<checking results>
Python 3.1.1 (r311:74483, Aug 17 2009, 17:02:12) [MSC v.1500 32 bit (Intel)] on 
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
 >>> import _tkinter
 >>> import Tkinter
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named Tkinter
</checking results>

The recipe now calls for adding path to directory with [Tkinter.py], but as 
mentioned no such file in this installation...


- Alf

PS: This was not unexpected. It was exactly why I earlier didn't even look at 
CPython (umpteen bad experiences with *nix ports) but used ActivePython. I'm 
hopeful that I will find where Tkinter resides on the net, but hey, it should at 
least be documented, up front I mean (it's possibly mentioned somewhere, yes?).

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