[Numpy-discussion] how is toolchain selected for compiling (OS X with python.org build)?

Chris Barker chris.barker at noaa.gov
Thu Oct 15 13:39:03 EDT 2015

you might try the python-mac list:


not very active, but folks there know what they are doing :-)


On Thu, Oct 15, 2015 at 8:49 AM, Andrew Jaffe <a.h.jaffe at gmail.com> wrote:

> This isn't, strictly speaking, a numpy question, but I suspect it's
> something that numpy devs and users have some insight into.
> I am trying to compile an extension that requires a fairly advanced c++
> compiler. Using the built-in apple python, it defaults to the latest clang
> from apple, and it works just fine.
> Using the python.org framework build, it still selects clang, which is in
> principle a new enough compiler, but for some reason it seems to end up
> pointing to /usr/include/c++/4.2.1/ which of course is too old, and the
> build fails.
> So the questions I have are:
>  - *why* is it using such an old toolchain (I am pretty sure that the
> answer is backward compatibility, and specifically because that is the way
> the framework build python is itself compiled).
>  - *how* is it selecting those tools, and in particular, that include
> directory? It doesn't seem to explicitly show up in the logs, until there's
> an error. If I just use the same clang invocation as seems to be used by
> the build, it is able to compile full C++-11 code...
>  - Is there any way to still use the apple clang, but in full c++-11 mode
> to build extensions?
> The solution/workaround is to install and then explicitly select a more
> advanced compiler, e.g., from homebrew, using environment variables, but it
> would be nice if it could work out of the box, and ideally with the same
> behaviour as with apple's python build.
> -Andrew
> p.s. for the aficionados, this is for [healpy][1], and we're looking at it
> with [this issue][2].
> [1]: https://github.com/healpy
> [2]: https://github.com/healpy/healpy/issues/284#issuecomment-148354405
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Christopher Barker, Ph.D.

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