[Numpy-discussion] Problem with numpy on Leopard

Christopher Barker Chris.Barker@noaa....
Thu Nov 1 18:12:02 CDT 2007

Robert Kern wrote:
>> The problem will arise for every package, not only numpy, so Apple
>> fixing this is the best solution IMHO.
> It's unlikely they are going to. If they put that stuff there, it's because they
> are using it for something, not as an (in)convenience to you. I don't recommend
> using the Python.framework in /System for anything except for distributing
> lightweight .apps.


This has come up before, when IBM was putting python in systems for some 
reason. Also, anyone remember RedHat, when upgrading python all their 
stuff would break. The problem there was that they refused, for some 
unknown reason, to specify a python version in their #! lines, nor did 
they specify a path (i.e., they used /usr/bin/env python) -- so you 
couldn't change the default python without all of RedHat's utilities 

The issue here is that if Apple had put site-packages on the path before 
their Extras dir, then when someone did something like install an 
upgrade to numpy (what a good idea) there is a chance that some 
Apple-supplied utility that relies on numpy would break.

Hence Roberts solution: treat the Apple Python as a system only tool, 
only to be added to by Apple themselves. I guess that's OK, but it's 
really silly that it has to be that way.

The solution: support versioning of packages in python! This came up 
some years ago, when wxPython developed a versioning system -- it would 
have made much more sense for their to be a standard way to do it, but 
the core folks on python-dev didn't see the point. oh well.

The way I see it, python is a very good, robust, general purpose tool. 
It's a great thing for OS suppliers to provide python for system and 
users use -- I'd love to see it treated as other system libraries and 
utilities are, but to do that, there must be a versioning system for 
packages -- so Apple can use the version they installed, and a user can 
install and upgrade along side it, and not break anything.

It's analygous to shared libraries -- it's insane to use shared libs 
without versions - we'd have to statically link everything. Having to 
install all of Python, and all those packages because you want to 
upgrade numpy just seems crazy.

Sorry about that!


Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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