Why does "python setup.py sdist" create unwanted "PROJECT-egg.info" in project root directory?

When I run

  python setup.py sdist

it creates an sdist in my ./dist directory. This includes a "PROJECT-egg.info" file in the zip inside my "dist" folder, which I don't use, but it doesn't hurt me, so I just ignore it.

My question is why does it also create a "PROJECT-egg.info" folder in my project root directory? Can I make it stop creating this? If not, can I just delete it immediately after creating the sdist?

I'm using the 'setup' function imported from setuptools. WindowsXP, Python2.7, Setuptools 0.6c11, Distribute 0.6.14.

My setup config looks like:

{'author': 'Jonathan Hartley',
 'author_email': 'tartley@tartley.com',
 'classifiers': ['Development Status :: 1 - Planning',
                 'Intended Audience :: Developers',
                 'License :: OSI Approved :: BSD License',
                 'Operating System :: Microsoft :: Windows',
                 'Programming Language :: Python :: 2.7'],
 'console': [{'script': 'demo.py'}],
 'data_files': [('Microsoft.VC90.CRT',
 'description': 'Utilities for games and OpenGL graphics, built around Pyglet.\n',
 'keywords': '',
 'license': 'BSD',
 'long_description': "blah blah blah",
 'name': 'pygpen',
 'options': {'py2exe': {'ascii': True,
                        'bundle_files': 1,
                        'dist_dir': 'dist/pygpen-0.1-windows',
                        'dll_excludes': [],
                        'excludes': ['_imaging_gif',
                        'optimize': 2}},
 'packages': ['pygpen'],
 'scripts': ['demo.py'],
 'url': 'http://code.google.com/p/edpath/',
 'version': '0.1',
 'zipfile': None}

This directory is created intentionally as part of the build process for a source distribution. A little gander at the developer guide for setuptools gives you a hint as to why:

But, be sure to ignore any part of the distutils documentation that deals with MANIFEST or how it's generated from MANIFEST.in; setuptools shields you from these issues and doesn't work the same way in any case. Unlike the distutils, setuptools regenerates the source distribution manifest file every time you build a source distribution, and it builds it inside the project's .egg-info directory, out of the way of your main project directory. You therefore need not worry about whether it is up-to-date or not.

You may safely delete the directory after your build has completed.

Bonus edit:

I customize the clean command within my setup.py on many of my Python projects to delete *.egg-info, dist, build, and *.pyc and other files. Here's an example of how it's done in setup.py:

import os
from setuptools import setup, Command

class CleanCommand(Command):
    """Custom clean command to tidy up the project root."""
    user_options = []
    def initialize_options(self):
    def finalize_options(self):
    def run(self):
        os.system('rm -vrf ./build ./dist ./*.pyc ./*.tgz ./*.egg-info')

# Further down when you call setup()
    # ... Other setup options
        'clean': CleanCommand,

To illustrate, after running python setup.py build on a dummy project called "poop" (Yes, I'm very mature), this happens:

$ python setup.py build
running build
running build_py
creating build
creating build/lib
creating build/lib/poop
copying poop/__init__.py -> build/lib/poop

And now if we run python setup.py clean:

$ python setup.py clean
running clean
removed `./build/lib/poop/__init__.py'
removed directory: `./build/lib/poop'
removed directory: `./build/lib'
removed directory: `./build'


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The -egg.info folder isn't always a temporary artifact you can delete.

For example, if you use pip install -e YOURPACKAGE for an "editable" install (works via symlink like python setup.py develop so you don't have to re-install a package every time you edit it locally), the -egg.info folder is required at runtime when your package is imported in another source. If it doesn't exist, you will get a DistributionNotFound error.

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Note that you can have the PROJECT.egg-info artifacts disappear completely from your sdist.

The command setup.py egg_info will use the source root as the egg base by default, resulting in the PROJECT.egg-info directory being packaged into the sdist.

You can configure the egg base by passing the option --egg-base. This will create the PROJECT.egg-info directory somewhere else, leaving it out of your source distribution completely. You might also use a setup.cfg to set that property.

The following command to create a sdist without a PROJECT.egg-info works for me:

python setup.py egg_info --egg-base /tmp sdist

Or in a setup.cfg:

egg_base = /tmp

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Pythons packaging and build system is broken imho. So there are many hacks and workarounds for things that one would belive work out of the box.

However, the "cleanest" hack I found for deleting the *.egg-info is using the normal clean --all switch along with the egg_info to place the *.egg-info file in a subfolder that will be cleaned by the clean command. Here an example:

In your setup.cfg use something like this:

egg_base = ./build/lib

where ./build/lib is a folder that clean --all will delete. Then when building your project with setuptools use the clean command with the --all flag, e.g.

python setup.py bdist_wheel clean --all

if you want to build a source bundle as well just make sure to build bdist_wheel before sdist so the build/lib folder exists, e.g.:

python setup.py bdist_wheel sdist clean --all

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  • FTR: Related question (but not duplicate: this one is about egg-info file created during sdist, the other about egg-info created during installation): stackoverflow.com/q/23460191/821378
  • Many thanks for the insight. I could never figure out whether I should be scouring the docs for distutils or setuptools or distribute. I'm going to hang on a while before selecting your answer, just in case there is something like a kwarg I haven't spotted yet to tell setuptools not to do this.
  • So I added lines to my Makefile to delete *.egg-info on 'make clean', or after doing a 'make sdist'. Thanks for reassuring me this won't necessarily break everything.
  • You're welcome. That's exactly what I do as well from within my setup.py. I'm glad I was able to help! :)
  • @jathanism How did you add this extra behavior to your setup.py so that, for example, a python setup.py clean removes the .egg-INFO directory?
  • Take a look at this setup.py to see how I do it. It's pretty easy.
  • Sadly, setuptools intentionally broke support for absolute egg_base pathnames at some point. The following fatal error is now emitted: setup() arguments must *always* be /-separated paths relative to the setup.py directory, *never* absolute paths. Sigh.