[Python-Dev] Switching to VC.NET 2003

Martin v. Loewis martin at v.loewis.de
Mon Dec 29 11:00:47 EST 2003

Guido van Rossum wrote:

 > Will the resulting installer still install a working version of Python
 > on old versions of Windows, like win95 and win98?

I don't know; in principle, it should (or atleast, we should be able
to make it work if desired).

 > I presume this will
 > require that the MSI support is present on the target system; does
 > this exist for Win95 etc? How about Windows NT 4.0?

Yes; there is a four-file bootstrap mechanism that we could
distribute. It consists of
1. a tiny setup.exe
2. an installer for installer for W9x
3. an installer for installer for WNT
4. the actual MSI file.

I believe the setup.exe driver needs to be parametrized
as part of the build process to hard-code the name of the
MSI file; I have no procedure yet to do this.

I would propose to make parts 1..3 optional downloads;
we can also (alternatively) point users to the
redistributable download at


With that procedure, they would explicitly need to install
installer, then reboot (I think), then install Python.

On some installations, installer might be present already,
but in a too-old version (I use the schema of Installer 2.0).
In principle, the already-present installer should find out
that it is too old, and suggest some sort of upgrade.

 > If not, what's the oldest Windows version still supported?

A different question is the version of shared libraries
that the Python binaries depend on. On the one hand, this
is msvcr71.dll, which is not present by default on any
Windows release, so we need to ship that.

Another issue is Winsock 2 (which, I believe, is in wsock32.dll).
A quick research indicates that this was present in Win95
already. I don't know whether all of the entry points that
we use was present already; confirmation appreciated. In
principle, usage of IPv6 could be a problem. In another principle,
the platform SDK arranges to transparently emulate the IPv6
API on systems where it is not natively available, by means
of GetProcAddress. This all needs testing.


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