Distutils BoF Topics
There have been many proposals for changes and improvements to distutils, but any actual activity on improving distutils appears to have come to a complete halt. All activity has moved to third-party tools which layer on top of distutils.
There is a case to be made for integrating the best of the enhancements directly into distutils itself, with the most important being shared maintenance and making the tools readily available for use by smaller distributions. Currently, many larger distributions of Python code are incorporating distutils extensions directly into their distributions. This isn't much of a problem for large distributions (like Zope and PEAK), but seems out of place for smaller distributions of a single package (like ZConfig).
The extensions which we should consider adding directly to distutils include:
- Support for installing both modules and packages from a single distribution.
Support for more easily installing data files into a package. Phillip Eby's setuptools has implemented one reasonable approach to this; there may be others.
The ability to install packages into other packages without having to hack around in setup.py scripts. (For example, the option to install zope.app.sqlscripts into an existing installation of zope.app.)
Some ability to use more declarative forms of metadata from setup.py without having to write a pile of extension code. This is being explored some at Zope Corporation.
- Dependency support. This is also being worked on by Phillip Eby, but it would be nice to get more information from the community about the requirements.