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Author jdemeyer
Recipients dstufft, eric.araujo, erik.bray, jdemeyer
Date 2018-02-05.16:01:16
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Marked as misclassified Yes
Message-id <>
When a Python project is installed, distutils copies the files from the build to install directory using copy_file(). In this copy operation, timestamps are preserved. In other words, the timestamp of the installed file equals the timestamp of the source file.

By contrast, autotools does not preserve timestamps: the timestamp of the installed files equals the time of installation. This makes more sense because of dependency checking: if you reinstall a package, you typically want to rebuild everything depending on that package.

This issue is mostly relevant for installing .h files: most build systems (including distutils itself) provide a way to recompile C/C++ source files if they depend on a changed header file. But that only works if the timestamp of the header is updated when it is installed.

Note that ./command/ contains a comment

        # XXX copy_file by default preserves atime and mtime.  IMHO this is
        # the right thing to do, but perhaps it should be an option -- in
        # particular, a site administrator might want installed files to
        # reflect the time of installation rather than the last
        # modification time before the installed release.

but without justification.
Date User Action Args
2018-02-05 16:01:16jdemeyersetrecipients: + jdemeyer, eric.araujo, erik.bray, dstufft
2018-02-05 16:01:16jdemeyersetmessageid: <>
2018-02-05 16:01:16jdemeyerlinkissue32773 messages
2018-02-05 16:01:16jdemeyercreate