Sometimes the Moirae (lovely three women, aren’t they?) decide that your project is going to have a complicated live, and this is what I have been facing so far with the port of Ubuntu One to Windows. This means that things that I do not anticipate to go wrong will go wrong. As an example of this is what has currently broken the nightlies of Ubuntu One on any platform (at least we have the same features in all platforms now ;) ). The issue has happened due to some changed that added in Ubuntu SSO Client that would allow to use pykeyring on windows and the COM to detect network changes.

In Ubuntu SSO Client there was an error in the that would have the following trace

ERROR: Python module pythoncom not found
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "", line 105, in <module>
    'clean' : SSOClean})
  File "/usr/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/DistUtilsExtra/", line 95, in setup
    __requires(attrs, src_all)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/DistUtilsExtra/", line 392, in __requires
    __add_imports(imports, s, attrs)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/DistUtilsExtra/", line 341, in __add_imports
    if __external_mod(node.module, attrs):
  File "/usr/lib/python2.6/dist-packages/DistUtilsExtra/", line 317, in __external_mod
    path = __import__(module).__file__
  File "/usr/lib/python2.6/ctypes/", line 23, in <module>
    class VARIANT_BOOL(_SimpleCData):
ValueError: _type_ 'v' not supported

Well that is little odd, isn’t it? Why would Distutils-extra have an issue with wintypes, shouldn’t it just return an error to the stderr and leave it like that?. Well interestingly enough, the following returns a ValueError on Linux:

import ctypes.wintypes

He, interesting (I can assure you I was not this polite when I saw the error). So why is distutils extra raising this? Well the main reason resides in the __add_imports method in distutils extra that uses the ast module to find all the modules that you import and tries to import them to see if they are in the system. All of this is wrap by a try statement, but unfortunately the except clause looks for the common exceptions for error hen importing, and ValueError is not one of them. I have sent a patch to disutils-extra to work around this and sent a mail to python-dev asking where is the best place to submit a patch for ctypes…. Who said this project would not help open-source?

Read more