CGI problems on new web server

jimrthy jimrthy at
Sat Jan 26 23:14:52 EST 2002

Hello, everyone.

I'm setting up a web server, and the host is giving me some trouble. 
 Before I went with them, I asked specifically if I'd be able to use 
python for cgi scripts.  They installed it for me.

After I bought the account and started working with it, I realized 
they'd installed 1.5.  Blecch, but not that big a deal for the stuff 
I'm doing (heh...can anyone point me to the docs for that version, 
though?  It gets confusing when I'm using the 2.1 docs on my 
development machine).  Even better, can anyone suggest ways to 
wheedle them into upgrading?  (So far, the only communication I've 
had from them--since the promise to install it--referred to python 
as "some obscure perl module that no one else wants.")

More importantly, I can't do anything.  "import cgi" winds up 
crashing (I could give the whole traceback, but it doesn't seem 
relevant).  Urllib tries to "import socket," and that raises 
"ImportError: cannot open shared object file: No such 
file or directory."

Guessing from the name of the lib, that doesn't sound like something 
that would be part of the standard python distribution.  Does anyone 
have a clue here?  (The servers are running a Linux 2.2.16 kernel, 
if that makes any difference).  I haven't managed to track down 
anyone yet with a clue, so I don't know how python was installed.  
Could they have built it from a tar ball and given bad switches to 
./configure?  (I've always gone with the binary dists, so I don't 
know if it uses autoconf...and I'm even less sure about a version 
this old).  Or did the socket library just automatically assume 
SSL's installed, and that's that?

Or could this error really mean that SSL's there, and it was 
compiled into the libs, but the 'nobody' user (I'm guessing that's 
the environment) doesn't have access?

Oh, and any suggestions for dealing with the people on that end who 
don't want to help?  So far, I've basically been told I'm an idiot 
for even trying to write my own cgi script (I took a couple of days 
to simmer down before I answered...the saving grace was that he 
admitted he didn't know the first thing about programming).

And now, I think I shall celebrate this beautiful Saturday evening 
with some Spam.  Or, since there's none of that in the house, I'll 
settle for potted meat <shudder>.


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