Attn: Install path debaters

Gary E. Miller gem at
Thu Jan 4 22:55:13 UTC 2018

Yo Ian!

On Thu, 4 Jan 2018 14:52:20 -0600
Ian Bruene via devel <devel at> wrote:

> On 01/04/2018 01:21 PM, Gary E. Miller via devel wrote:
> >> What are these other issues?  
> > The FHS, Gentoo, and AFAIK all distros, do not include /usr/local/XX
> > in any enviroment PATHs.  
> Ubuntu does.

Then why do they include it in PATH, but not PYTHONPATH?  Seems like a
bug to me.  Either you have /usr/local on by default, or you do not.
Having it half on, and half off, is just wrong.

> That would explain it not being part of FHS but distros 
> moving towards including it.

Uh, no.  Not at all.  /usr/local is very much a part of the FHS.

Time for you to read the FHS.  Decades of distilled pain in there, all
nice and tidy to keep yyou from repeating the mistakes of the past.

> > 'Fixing' just PYTHONPATH, and ignoring the others is touching only
> > part of the problem.  
> Ooookaaayyy..... That is a much bigger problem. If what you are 
> describing is true how is the build working /at all/ on non-Debian
> systems?

Because either your distro has /usr/local included in all its PATHs,
or the admin has a clue, or the installer read the install directions
that warn him to be sure /usr/local is in all the needed PATHs.

> > If anything is going into /usr by default, that is new, and very,
> > very bad.  That conflicts with FHS and the policy of every distro I
> > know of.  
> Not by default, but if the provided paths don't show up in sys.path
> it does. And this is not a new problem, you came across it some time
> ago, but no fix has been decided on as of yet.

You make a conclusion, then say yet to be decided?  And you say things
contradicted by others.  So rather then talking around the issues, come up
with a plan that you think works, as if it includes you aboce statements
then I know others will take issue with you.

> > Yes, and also the binaries, man pages, and other things.  This is
> > by design, dating back to UNIX tradition in the 1970's, still
> > embedded firmly in the FHS, etc.  
> Why then did the documentation only talk about adding to PYTHONPATH?

Because pretty much any admin I know of already knows to fix the other
paths, or he already fixed them when he installed something else, or he
has a system that includes /usr/local/ by defaul in his paths so not an

I've helped enough newbies install a wide variety of distros to
have "check PATHs" on my mental checklist.

> >>       bad: apparently breaks inter-version seals between different
> >> copies of NTP. But this is true of any distro with /usr/local/
> >>       good: it doesn't bypass python versioning <--- This is a
> >> Huge  
> > Uh, no.  Until the user sets his PATH, MANPATH, INFOPATH,
> > PYTHONPATH, etc. the traditional way does NOT break the NPT
> > in /usr.  
> Not a particularly relevant detail; if it is used to breaks the seal. 
> One might also say that if it isn't built it won't have bugs.

Uh, seal?  Lost me....

> >> PYTHONPATH is a mess for this kind of thing.  
> > Really???  So PATH, MANPATH, INFOPATH, LD_CONFIG_PATH, etc. are
> > somehow easy for you, but PYTHONPATH is not easy????  This is ONE
> > LINE in ONE FILE.  
> Ok, now I have to describe the bug I encountered (yes, already filled
> a report upstream). On my system any version of python 3 gives a 
> /usr/local/ install path for version "python3". But it only adds
> paths for "python3.<n>" under /usr/local/.

Now imagine Gentoo where I have 4 versions of Python installed, and
they all work at the same time!  Many moving parts in there, best
for us to avoid them.

> This is what I mean when I say that PYTHONPATH is a mess for this
> kind of thing.

Well, then, compaare and contrsst why PATH, MANPATH, INFOPATH, 
LD_CONFIG_PATH, etc. are all good things with primarodial history, and
PYTHONPATH is different???

> You can't tell it to add a path for certain versions
> of python only.

Say what?  That is exactly what I do in Gentoo!

> You can tell it to use a specific path, or you can
> tell it to use a path with the standard subdirectories which the
> sys.path builder script will then add.

Which then breaks when things move around.

Gary E. Miller Rellim 109 NW Wilmington Ave., Suite E, Bend, OR 97703
	gem at  Tel:+1 541 382 8588

	    Veritas liberabit vos. -- Quid est veritas?
    "If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it." - Lord Kelvin
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