python setuptools/distribute in macports

Alan Franzoni mailing at
Mon Mar 29 13:07:30 PDT 2010

Hello everyone,
I'm quite a recent Mac and macports a user, on the contrary I'm a Python
developer since quite a lot of years.

There's something "strange" in macports about python: setuptools and
distribute are considered conflicting ports, while they're effectively
two different "implementations" for the very same module, distribute
being a drop-in replacement for the older and less maintained setuptools.

I've seen this discussion about the topic:

My question is: why taking the conflicting port path? I seem to
understand that the port system has no "provides" tag like rpm/dpkg
based packaging systems, it's got a "variants" concept and it makes
differences between an "installed" and an "active" port. Why can't just
setuptools and distribute be two variants for a port? Or why can't them
be installed at the same time, but could then be just activated when
needed (just guessing on the technical possibility of doing this last

Otherwise, I think that macports should pick either and forbid the
other; otherwise strange behaviours may occur (e.g. I can't install two
python ports at the same time because one needs setuptools and the other
needs distribute).

Have you thought anything about just keeping setuptools for 2.6 and
forcing a switch to distribute with python 2.7 / 3.x?

Alan Franzoni
contact me at public@[mysurname].eu

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