A.K.A distribute is dead; long live distribute!
Hopefully most people know that distribute is now deprecated, and the entirety of its functionality has been merged into the updated and now active setuptools project. If you didn't, consider yourself informed.
If you've never used distribute or setuptools before, they are almost worth
it solely for their addition of
install_requires in a python package's
setup() function, which allows one to specify software dependencies
of your python code before it will install.
That, and they are required by the wonderful pip.
Along with active development, setuptools and python packaging are improving
at a rapid pace, making things easier and simpler for everyone. If you are
currently using distribute or your packages work directly with it, please
consider updating your little bit of python to the latest tools!
There are also practical reasons for updating: not only a myriad of bug fixes, until roughly v1.0, setuptools/distribute didn't properly use a verified HTTPS connection to download all resources. You want this for the thing that installs your software! Over time it's also gained support for a new installation format as well, which you'll hear about below. At the time of writing, PyPI tells me that distribute has been downloaded 384810 times this week. We need to move on!