Python libs on Debian/Raspbian

Achim Gratz Stromeko at
Sat Dec 9 09:18:57 UTC 2017

Richard Laager via devel writes:
> If you're advocating that ntpsec's default should install to a
> non-standard place, such that a user MUST configure a custom PYTHONPATH
> environment variable, I think literally everyone else here disagrees
> with you. We are all trying to figure out how to make it work by
> default. There is admittedly some disagreement as to whether that goal
> is higher or lower priority than respecting --prefix.

There are at least three different way of installing _anything_ (let's
leave the details of Python and the various distro conventions aside for
the moment):

1. System-wide, distribution-blessed installation (aka packaging).
2. System-wide, local installation.
3. User installation.

(Factor in wanting to provide multiple versions of the same thing in
parallel and you've got yourself another combinatorial explosion.)

The main implication is that the physical install locations should be
distinct so that no matter in which order you install and de-install
things you can use everything that is currently installed, maybe after
pointing to the correct installation if you're trying to get at
something that's down the precedence chain.

Now, as far as packaging is concerned, the correct location(s) are
defined by the distribution.  If ntpsec wouldn't use something as
obscure as waf for doing the build & installation the distro tool chain
would most likely do the right thing out of the box and we'd not even
have that part of the discussion.

For the latter two types of installations you have more leeway to chose
what you do, however the system locations (again, depending on
distribution) are clearly off-limits.  There may be some distribution
specific rules for type 2 installations independent of or in addition to
facilities a particular language or tool has, as there are different
provisions for how far customizations of that sort can go.  I don't see
user installations as a real thing for ntpd, but the user space control
and monitoring tool tools might be a different story.

Myself, I just locked out the system ntpd from getting installed and do
a type 1 install.  What install type should be chosen as the default is
debatable.  But it may indeed mean that the default install option
requires some modification to the environment, like PYTHONPATH, at least
on some systems.

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