The strange world of packaging - forking setuptools

Again, like a year ago, people had enough of the fact that the setuptools project is not maintained since 9 months.

Phillip Eby explained that he doesn't have time to do it unless someone would pay him for that. But in the meantime, he doesn't bless anyone to do it. Well, he has blessed some people to do it (Ian Bicking and Jim Fulton), but unfortunately these people are not willing to do it because they have a lot of other projects going on. Other people that could maintain it, including me, fail in his "unqualified people" category :)

So we are all locked in a strange situation where tons of patches are ready to be commited in the setuptools tracker but are not making it. Several non-public forks have started to appear around of course.

So again, I decided with some other people to create a fork called "Distribute". It's a real fork located here :

By real I mean that this fork was not created with the purpose of forcing Phillip to do a release like we did last year for the 0.6c9 release, but with the intention to free us from that strange situation where we all depend on his wills and (lack of) time.

The plan is to release a first version next week, that corresponds to the setuptools 0.6 branch, with some patches applied.

Next, we are planning to start a 0.7 version where the code will be splitted in several distributions:
- a distribution for pkg_resources - a distribution for the setuptools package itself - a distribution for easy_install

A little bit of bikeshedding is going on to pick a name for that fork, and we ended up running a poll. (vote!)

Now, right after I have announced this plan on Distutils-SIG, Phillip reacted by annoucing a similar plan, e.g. splitting the setuptools project in several distributions. But since he previously said that he didn't have the time to do it, I doubt that it'll work out unless he's opening its development to a wider range of developers and maintainers.

That's the strange world of packaging...

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