Debian Python FAQ
What are the projects and documentation available ?
If you're interested in help packaging Python itself, there's pkg-python but if you want to help with the Python modules or packaging a new one, you should look at Debian Python Modules Team project. Both groups discuss its activities in the same firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.
Multiple python versions support
Debian supports several versions of Python simultaneously. Some packages include modules only for the default version, while others provide modules for all available. Source packages may provide several binary packages for each version of Python or build a single one that suits all.
The general trend is to reduce that diversity and provide modules for all Python versions available within Debian using the following guidelines.
Traditionally, build dependencies for Python extension modules included development packages for all versions of Python they were built for. For compiled modules you still have to specify each dependency separately. For Python-only modules the sole python-dev is sufficient if they use Python-based build system (like the very used distutils), python-support dependency in turn will automagically manage late-bytecompilation.
Note on bytecompilation for pure Python modules
As python-support introduce late-bytecompilation, no .pyc/.pyo files shall be shipped in your package. You do no need to spend build time for generating them. With distutils use the "--no-compile -O0" options; if you are using the CDBS class, everything is already done for you. Beware some upstream sources that contain a setup.cfg which override your build options (see #360848), then you will have to patch it. In all cases, python-support will remove those files if they are generated.
What is python-support?
Python-support is a tool to handle byte-compilation of python modules when there are several python versions installed on the system.
See /usr/share/doc/python-support/README.gz for up-to-date information.
What is python-central?
Package that contains some helper scripts for building and installing python modules independent of the current installed Python version.
Some information about python-central can be found here: http://python-modules.alioth.debian.org/python-central_howto.txt
Should I use python-support or python-central?
Most people prefer python-support, because it is better so use that.
Some statistics (the number of packages using each method), as of December 16, 2007:
~/python-modules$ grep python-support packages/*/trunk/debian/control | wc -l 124 ~/python-modules$ grep python-central packages/*/trunk/debian/control | wc -l 62
What are Python eggs?
How should we package Python eggs?
We don't want to provide ".egg" files within the .deb. However we want to make the "egg meta-information" available so that users can use eggs if they so wish. For that you need to pass the option "--single-version-externally-managed" to the "setup.py install" call.
Packages relying on CDBS can do that this way:
# Install egg-info directories DEB_PYTHON_INSTALL_ARGS_ALL += --single-version-externally-managed
How do we add Egg support to a package that doesnt support it yet?
Basicly, you should modify setup.py to use the setup function of "setuptools" instead of "distutils". Of course, you must then Build-Depends on "python-setuptools (>= 0.6a9)" which is the first version supporting the egg-info directories.
Check the following links for documentation about setuptools and creation of Eggs:
Example of minimal patch:
--- elementtree-1.2.6.old/setup.py 2006-04-18 12:25:33.000000000 +0000 +++ elementtree-1.2.6/setup.py 2006-04-18 12:26:30.000000000 +0000 @@ -7,6 +7,7 @@ # from distutils.core import setup +from setuptools import setup try: # add download_url syntax to distutils
Adding "egg support" is only required in some specific cases: when another software uses the python module via an egg and when this egg support is not yet integrated upstream.