Decreasing Values Of Addition

…or how added value gets smaller.

I run ActiveState’s ActivePython on this ‘ere XP laptop. It’s quite a nice package, has the documentation in a nice indexed Windows help format, works under cygwin, etc, etc. And here Python 2.3.4 comes out. Now, call me picky, paranoid or just plain pedantic, but I like to keep all the Python installations on the three main machines I work on in sync. That’s the XP laptop, the Linux server at work and the Linux gateway/server at home. I’ve had annoying little issues in the past when using Python 2 under Windows/cygwin to develop locally and then moving to an older Python on Linux. RedHat used 1.5.2 for a lot of their setup scripts and it took me a while to bite the bullet, blow away the RPM and go for a proper Python 2 install (with all the files dropped into the same locations as the older Python, natch).

So on Linux it’s the same ole wget / tar / cd / configure / make dance as it ever was, subject to remembering exactly what set of exotic configure options I used last time (hint to self, never delete config.status). But on Windows, ActiveState are now a couple of Python releases behind, so what do I do? Of course, I can download the Windows release from python.org, but then I need to think – what will I lose by replacing ActiveState?

The considerations are – what added value have ActiveState given me in their own distribution? And have they, by providing me with an ever-so-convenient one-click .msi file, locked me into using them from now on? Hmm… this is not such a clear tradeoff as I thought.

As it happens, the Python.org installation picks up the right install directory and neatly replaces the ActiveState stuff anyway, so it’s not that key a question. But for a moment there…

5 thoughts on “Decreasing Values Of Addition

  1. If I were using Python on Win32, I’d probably take a look at Enthought’s distribution. They’re at 2.3.3 at the moment, but you get SciPy, wxWindows, etc. I’m sure they’ll update pretty soon.

  2. Coo, I never knew that… but right now I think I’ve managed to return to the canonical One True Packaging from Python.org, and that ought to do me. After all, the point is to try and stay in sync with the distributions built from source on Linux.

  3. compiled html help?

    The python win32 installer from python.org too has the compiled html help file (chm)!

  4. Active State vs Python.org Dist

    >>has the documentation in a nice indexed Windows help format,
    You get this help file in the standard Python distribution. It’s not unique to Active State.
    I never understood what the benefit of Active State’s dist. is

    • Re: Active State vs Python.org Dist

      Only the last 2 or 3 versions of the Python.org distro come with the .chm docs. ActiveState also bundles PythonWin and maybe some other non-standard modules.

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