Bite of the Buildbugs!

Ian Bruene ianbruene at
Sun Dec 10 16:03:05 UTC 2017

After reading over the discussion regarding the recent /issues/, I have 
come to a side: Revert Fred's fix and throughly document the import 


The standard method means that on some systems the ntp module can't be 
seen by python without modifying PYTHONPATH.

The fix results in ntp imports always working, but on those systems that 
would have had problems it randomly shunts files where they have no 
business being.

The import error is entirely due to upstream problems.

Any attempt to directly hack the path to be correct will result in 
brittle code that could blow up at any time on who knows what system. 
Best case is it simply doesn't install, worst it trashes something.

Randomly shunting files to places that are non-standard - when the user 
did not request that - is Very Bad. I would consider it bad from a 
random unimportant library or tool, but NTPsec has a higher than average 
need to be well-behaved. The fix is unacceptable. Hacking the paths is 
even worse: the brittleness is everything NTPsec was created to eliminate.

In contrast PYTHONPATH issues are well behaved on our part, does not 
have a chance of screwing  up someone else's system, and if someone 
complains (as they should) we can point them upstream to put added 
backpressure on the real bug.

Since Aunt Tillie is not NTPsec's market adding something to PYTHONPATH 
is not a showstopper, whereas (correct me if I'm wrong) I don't think 
any sysadmin for an Important Server worth their salt will hear "this 
install might decide to put part of its code in a random system 
directory" and do anything other than run rm -rf ntpsec.

A discussion about whether to have an option to auto-hack the PYTHONPATH 
might be fruitful however.

/"In the end; what separates a Man, from a Slave? Money? Power? No. A 
Man Chooses, a Slave Obeys."/ -- Andrew Ryan

/"Utopia cannot precede the Utopian. It will exist the moment we are fit 
to occupy it."/ -- Sophia Lamb

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