[SciPy-dev] the scipy mission, include finite element solver

David Cournapeau cournape@gmail....
Tue Apr 14 19:23:44 CDT 2009

On Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 8:37 AM, Andrew Straw <strawman@astraw.com> wrote:

> Well, fink ports the Debian package management to Mac OS X. Does
> something equivalent exist for Windows? The actual Debian file formats
> are pretty simple, so it seems like it should be do-able.

What makes debian such a well integrated system is not so much the
scripts - after all, rpm .spec files, debian files, port (BSd system)
files are not that different. What matters is how polish the actual
packages are. That's already difficult to do for one platform. That
becomes very very difficult for many packages. The whole setuptools
thing is a fiasco IMHO partly because it ignores this problem and
gives the illusion it is easy (installing is easy, because it is just
installing files, uninstalling is easy because it is just removing
files - that's like saying programming is easy because it just moves
bytes in memory). When I worked in a company doing proprietary
software for windows/mac, you had one guy whose sole job is to make
sure everything installs properly. That's very time consuming, because
every little detail matters - and a mistake in the installer is a deal
breaker and costs a lot to the company.

> Maybe what is needed is an entirely unprivileged-user Debian-inspired
> distribution and package management system that doesn't bother
> installing the low-level system stuff (e.g. the kernel, X11/Windows
> GUI/Mac OS X GUI) but will keep a copy of everything from libpng, to
> cairo, to ATLAS, to numpy/scipy/etc in the user's area. This sounds like
> a generally useful thing, and not one that is specific to Python.
> Perhaps such a project could actually take off.

The idea is too engrained in unix I think, if only "philosophically".
Technically, having a system with many dependencies would not work
very well on windows I think. Usually, on windows, you just ship
everything you need in your package (many windows softwares bundle
their own C runtime for example), and a software is a snapshot of a
set of softwares which works and has been tested together. Then, every
software has its own update mechanism if it is big enough (acrobat
reader, vmware, etc...).


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