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Picking a Python Version: A Manifesto by David Mertz

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Chapter 5. Python Distributions

Several companies provide Python distributions with “even more batteries included.”

Continuum Analytics’ Anaconda

Continuum Analytics produces a Python distribution (for Python 2.7 and Python 3.4 currently) called Anaconda that comes bundled with “195+ of the most popular Python packages for science, math, engineering, and data analysis.” It also uses its own package manager called conda that has some advantages over pip and the PyPI ecosystem. In particular, this distribution comes bundled with NumPy, SciPy, Pandas, IPython, Matplotlib, Numba, Blaze, and Bokeh.

While the basic distribution is free to download, and free even to redistribute, Continuum Analytics offers several different enhanced versions of the distribution for a cost. One of the most interesting of these commercial enhancements is well integrated with CUDA, allowing extremely fast operations on numeric arrays by utilizing GPUs. For an announcement about this technology, bringing Python even further into the world of high-performance scientific computing, see “NVIDIA and Continuum Analytics Announce NumbaPro, A Python CUDA Compiler”.

Enthought’s Canopy

Enthought produces a Python distribution with similar goals to those of Continuum Analytics—indeed, the latter company is largely an offshoot of Enthought, and both share a goal of making Python the default language for scientific computing. Enthought describes their distribution as:

Enthought Canopy is a comprehensive Python analysis ...

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