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Re: Python install layout and the PATH on win32

From:  Éric Araujo <merwok-AT-netwok.org>
To:  python-dev-AT-python.org
Subject:  Re: Python install layout and the PATH on win32
Date:  Tue, 20 Mar 2012 23:41:47 -0400
Message-ID:  <4F694DFB.7050400@netwok.org>
Archive-link:  Article

Hi,

Le 20/03/2012 21:40, VanL a écrit :
> On Tuesday, March 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM, Paul Moore wrote:
>> It's worth remembering Éric's point - distutils is frozen and changes
>> are in theory not allowed. This part of the proposal is not possible
>> without an exception to that ruling. Personally, I don't see how
>> making this change could be a problem, but I'm definitely not an
>> expert.
>>
>> If distutils doesn't change, bdist_wininst installers built using
>> distutils rather than packaging will do the wrong thing with regard to
>> this change. End users won't be able to tell how an installer has been
>> built.
> 
> This is a good point. Who can make this call - Guido, or someone else?

From the top of my head the developers with the most experience about
Windows deployment are Martin v. Löwis, Mark Hammond and Marc-André
Lemburg (not sure about the Windows part for MAL, but he maintains a
library that extends distutils and has been broken in the past).  I
think their approval is required for this kind of huge change.

The point of the distutils freeze (i.e. feature moratorium) is that we
just can’t know what complicated things people are doing with
undocumented internals, because distutils appeared unmaintained and
under-documented for years and people had to work with and around it;
since the start of the distutils2 project we can Just Say No™ to
improvements and features in distutils.  “I don’t see what could
possibly go wrong” is a classic line in both horror movies and distutils
development <wink>.

Renaming Scripts to bin on Windows would have effects on some tools we
know and surely on many tools we don’t know.  We don’t want to see again
people who use or extend distutils come with torches and pitchforks
because internals were changed and we have to revert.  So in my opinion,
to decide to go ahead with the change we need strong +1s from the
developers I named above and an endorsement by Tarek, or if he can’t
participate in the discussion, Guido.

As a footnote, distutils is already broken in 3.3.  Now we give users or
system administrators the possibility to edit the install schemes at
will in sysconfig.cfg, but distutils hard-codes the old scheme.  I tend
to think it should be fixed, to make the distutils-packaging
transition/cohabitation possible.

Regards
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