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Terminology

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Why was it ever considered desirable to call a directory containing a __init__.py file a "package" rather then just "module". They are after all simply "modules containing other modules". It's not like that solved some sort of problem was it? But, as sad as that sometimes might be, we can't change the past.

Anyway, people are continiously confused when talking about python and all the module distributions made available on the cheeseshopPyPI by various projects. And now yet another discussion rages over at distutils-sig where they want to re-work this confusion by using unambigous terms. The only possible outcome I can think of is more confusion.

What is so hard about accepting the current status quo? The thing that would help most is documenting something like the following in distutils documentation:

The word "package" is often used to refer to a module distribution, usually it is perfectly clear form the context whether it is talking about a module distribution or a module containing other modules.
Sunday, January 10, 2010 | Labels: |

3 comments:

Floris Bruynooghe said...

"Unambiguous" is always going to be a little subjective and the fact that there exists already clear terminology that isn't followed because it appears to be ofter more convenient to call "module distributions" by the name "packages". You'd need something truly compelling for those habits to change. And of course then we'll have the "old terminology" and "new terminology" to choose from.

Anyway, that's just my personal opinion. I'm not going to attempt to weigh in on the discussion too much.

Michael Foord said...

Well, either you use one term to refer to more than one thing - in which case it is ambiguous - or you use one term for one thing and it isn't ambiguous.

I don't see what's subjective about that...

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