I don’t expect RPM and such to pay attention to the
MANAGED-BY file. We basically have two classes of installs from the POV of Python packaging:
- Managed by a tool that uses the relevant PEPs as their primary database of installed packages and related metadata.
- Managed by an external tool that might happen to also emit the files that the relevant PEP databases uses because the Python level tooling needs it to function properly (not just packaging tools, but other runtime tooling as well).
For the first case, we want all of these tools to largely be interoptable. If you install something with pip you should be able to then uninstall it with totally-not-pip. As long as all of the tools in this category are using the same database for what they consider installed or not, and they all implement the relevant specs, then these tools should largely be interchangeable.
For the second class, these tools are largely NOT interoptable, and it doesn’t even make sense for them to be.
rpm are unlikely to ever be in a situation where they’re both installed on the same system and trying to install into the same set of directories. The closest thing to “crossing the streams” in this world would be installing something like conda or Linuxbrew on a system that already has apt or rpm or similar, but in every case of those I can think of, those tools are installing to an entirely different location and don’t attempt to touch each other files at all.
So interactions between two tools within the same category is already largely a solved problem, through one mechanism or another. What we care about really is interactions between tools in different categories.
Within those interactions between categories we have two “directions” the interaction can go, those interactions are roughly a “type 1” (e.g. pip) installed thing being overwritten by a “type 2” (e.g. apt, rpm, etc) install and the reverse, a “type 2” installed thing being overwritten by a “type 1” installed thing.
MANAGED-BYis largely solving the second case, and it does it by teaching the type 1 tools how to understand a special marker that type 2 tools can easily be modified to write.
Of course, we could envision a world where this same system could be used for the inverse, and keep rpm/deb/etc from clobbering something installed by something like pip. However it’s unlikely that such a thing will ever gain traction, because these tools work with far more things than just Python (and in most cases it doesn’t even know something is Python, it’s just dropping files in predetermined locations).
That does mean we’ll need a different solution for the two directions that these conflicts can happen in. However I think that is inevitable given the realities of the capabilities of the two different “types” of tools, and the politics surrounding them that control what kind of changes are possible or not.