The future of Python build systems and Gentoo

Anyone following my Twitter could have seen me complaining about things happening around Python build systems frequently. The late changes feel like people around the Python packaging ecosystem have been strongly focused on building a new infrastructure focused on Python-specific package manages such as pip and flit. Unfortunately, there seems to be very little concern on distribution packagers or backwards compatibility in this process.

In this post, I’d like to discuss how the Python packaging changes are going to affect Gentoo, and what is my suggested plan on dealing with them. In particular, I’d like to focus on three important changes:

  1. Python upstream deprecating the distutils module (and build system), and planning to remove it in Python 3.12.
  2. The overall rise of PEP 517-based build systems and the potential for setuptools dropping UI entirely.
  3. Setuptools upstream deprecating the install command, and potentially removing it in the future.

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