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A tool to nicely wrap-up your python softwares

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Bento is an alternative to distutils-based packaging tools such as distutils, setuptools or distribute. Bento focus on reproducibility, extensibility and simplicity (in that order).

Packaging is as simple as writing a file with a file which looks as follows:

Name: Foo
Author: John Doe

    Packages: foo

The package is then installed with bentomaker, the command line interface to bento:

bentomaker install


To install bento, you can either:

  • install bento from itself (recommended):

    ./bentomaker install
  • install bento using setuptools (not recommended):

    python install

Python3 support

Bento supports python 3 as is, so there is no need to run 2to3 on it (doing so will probably break it).


Bento discussions happen on the bento Mailing list (, archive on bento-ml). To subscribe, you simply need to send an email to the list. Development is on github. Bugs should be reported on bento issue-tracker. Online documentation is available on github as well.

Why you should use bento ?

  • Straightfoward package description, in an indentation-based syntax similar to python
  • Simple packages can have their automatically converted through the 'convert' command
  • Distutils compatibility mode so that a bento package can be installed through pip
  • Adding new commands is simple
  • Pluggable build-backend: you can build your C extensions with a real build system such as waf or scons.
  • Easy to customize install paths from the command line, with sensible defaults on every platform
  • Installing data files such as manpages, configuration, etc... is straightforward and customizable through the command line
  • Supports all python versions >= 2.4 (including 3.x)
  • Designed with reproducibility in mind: re-running the same command twice should produce the same result (idempotency)
  • Preliminary support for windows installers (.exe), eggs and mpkg.

But bento does more:

  • Designed as a library from the ground up, with a focus on robustness and extensibility:

    • new commands can be inserted before/after an existing one without modifying the latter (no monkey-patching needed)
    • easy to add command line options to existing commands
    • each command has a pre/post hook
    • API designed such as commands need to know very little from each other.
    • Moving toward a node-based architecture for robust file location (waf-based design)
    • No global variable/singleton in bento itself
  • Easily bundable, one-file distribution to avoid extra-dependencies when using bento. You only need to add one file to your sources, no need for your users to install anything.

  • Basic support for console scripts ala setuptools

  • Dependency-based extension builders (source content change is automatically rebuilt)

  • Parallel build support for C extensions

  • Low-level interface to the included build tool to override/change any compilation parameter (compilation flag, compiler, etc...)

Planned features:

  • Reliable and fast (parallel) 2->3 convertion.
  • Support for msi packages
  • Reliable conversion between packaging formats on the platforms where it makes sense (egg <-> wininst, mpkg <-> egg, etc...)
  • Provide API to enable Linux distributors to write simple extensions for packaging bento-packages as they see fit
  • Infrastructure for a correctly designed package index, using well-known packaging practices instead of the broken easy_install + pypi model (easy mirroring, enforced metadata, indexing to enable querying-before-installing, reliable install, etc...).


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