The sdist in distribute does not use package_data to determine whether or not such files should be included in the source dist. Instead, the only way to include package_data is to ensure that all package_data files are in VCS, or to list them in MANIFEST.in.
While neither of those options are enormous hardships, it's still different enough from distutils to be annoying. For example, for a project stored in git the sdist won't be created properly unless setuptools-git is installed. I think it's wrong to have such a build requirement for such basic functionality as building a source distribution. Furthermore, we have generated files that should also be included in the dist, but won't get picked up unless they're manually listed in MANIFEST.in, meaning they have to be specified in two places (the setup.py and MANIFEST.in).
The only other option is revert back to the distutils sdist by way of cmdclass, but that's a little kludgy-looking).
I think the best option is restore the functionality of having sdist automatically add any files specified as package_data in the manifest. This behavior can still be disabled, however, by setting include_package_data=True (which we don't use anyways).
I think this should also resolve the issues raised in #218, though perhaps a documentation update to go along with this is still in order.
Totally forgot about this. AFAICT this is still an issue that needs fixing. I've included a test, and some slight updates to the docs. This should clarify the issue raised in #218: Now the situation is as such:
If include_package_data=True, package_data is ignored when generating the manifest. Otherwise, every file matched by package_data is automatically included in the manifest regardless of whether it's tracked by version control.
This might be obvious, but am I correct in that it seems like `include_package_data` does the opposite of what it is called? Why is this, or am I misreading? In particular, the previous comment implies (rephrasing), "if `include_package_data=False`, then every file matched by `package_data` is automatically included...." Thanks for the fix, by the way. :)
Yes, include_package_data is confusingly named, but we can't change it either. package_data wasn't added to distutils until Python2.4, so setuptools' include_package_data actually predates it, and means "automatically scan for any non-py files under a package and include them in the manifest if they're tracked by revision control". Setuptools also added package_data for finer-grained control. But when package_data was added to distutils it did not bring include_package_data with it, due to lack of interest in maintaining support for different VCSs in the stdlib.
So include_package_data and just package_data are actually two different things, hence the confusion.