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One problem with developing the Distutils is that there's no functional test suite, so figuring out if a change broke something is a scatter-shot process. (There are no unit tests either, but we're talking about functional tests here.) You might try building a few packages such as mxBase or PyXML, but you have no idea if everything was exercised. I'd really like to have a testing mechanism before beginning to make significant changes; without one we might have lots of inadvertent breakage.

Testing the Distutils is difficult for two reasons:

  1. you need an entire directory for each test, containing a plus whatever source files are necessary.
  2. you really need to run an install command and check that the files wound up installed to the right place.

This page collects ideas and requirements for a Distutils test suite.

Here's a vague straw-man proposal:

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