Chapter 2. Properly Installing Python

This chapter walks through CPython installation on the Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows platforms. Sections on packaging tools (like Setuptools and pip) are repetitive, so you should skip straight to the section for your particular operating system, and ignore the others.

If you are part of an organization that recommends you use a commercial Python distribution, such as Anaconda or Canopy, you should follow your vendor’s instructions. There is also a small note for you in “Commercial Python Redistributions”.


If Python already exists on your system, do not, on any account, allow anybody to change the symbolic link to the python executable to point at anything other than what it is already pointing at. That would be almost as bad as reading Vogon poetry out loud. (Think of the system-installed code that depends on a specific Python in a specific place…)

Installing Python on Mac OS X

The latest version of Mac OS X, El Capitan, comes with its own Mac-specific implementation of Python 2.7.

You don’t need to install or configure anything else to use Python. But we strongly recommend installing Setuptools, pip, and virtualenv before you start building Python applications for real-world use (i.e., contributing to collaborative projects). You’ll learn more about these tools and how to install them later in this section. In particular, you should always install Setuptools, as it makes it much easier for you to use other third-party ...

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