The normal course of operations for the
sdist command is as
First, you might want to force the manifest to be regenerated--for example, if you have added or removed files or directories that match an existing pattern in the manifest template, you should regenerate the manifest:
python setup.py sdist --force-manifest
Or, you might just want to (re)generate the manifest, but not create a source distribution:
python setup.py sdist --manifest-only
If you don't want to use the default file set, you can supply the --no-defaults option. If you use --no-defaults and don't supply a manifest template (or it's empty, or nothing matches the patterns in it), then your source distribution will be empty.