[Distutils] Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler for Python 2.7

Steve Dower Steve.Dower at microsoft.com
Fri Sep 26 19:59:03 CEST 2014

I'll post this on the various other lists later, but I promised distutils-sig first taste, especially since the discussion has been raging for a few days (if you're following the setuptools repo, you may already know, but let me take the podium for a few minutes anyway :) )

Microsoft has released a compiler package for Python 2.7 to make it easier for people to build and distribute their C extension modules on Windows. The Microsoft Visual C++ Compiler for Python 2.7 (a.k.a. VC9) is available from: http://aka.ms/vcpython27 

This package contains all the tools and headers required to build C extension modules for Python 2.7 32-bit and 64-bit (note that some extension modules require 3rd party dependencies such as OpenSSL or libxml2 that are not included). Other versions of Python built with Visual C++ 2008 are also supported, so "Python 2.7" is just advertising - it'll work fine with 2.6 and 3.2.

You can install the package without requiring administrative privileges and, with the latest version of setuptools (from the source repo - there's no release yet), use tools such as pip, wheel, or a setup.py file to produce binaries on Windows.

The license prevents redistribution of the package itself (obviously you can do what you like with the binaries you produce) and IANAL but there should be no restriction on using this package on automated build systems under the usual one-developer rule (http://stackoverflow.com/a/779631/891 - in effect, the compilers are licensed to one user who happens to be using it on a remote machine).

My plan is to keep the download link stable so that automated scripts can reference and install the package. I have no idea how long that will last... :)

Our intent is to heavily focus on people using this package to produce wheels rather than trying to get this onto every user machine. Binary distribution is the way Windows has always worked and we want to encourage that, though we do also want people to be able to unblock themselves with these compilers.

I should also point out that VC9 is no longer supported by Microsoft. This means there won't be any improvements or bug fixes coming, and there's no official support offered. Feel free to contact me directly <steve.dower at microsoft.com> if there are issues with the package.


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