FreeBSD or OpenBSD for Python?

Kurt B. Kaiser kbk at
Sat Mar 20 07:28:40 CET 2004

Patrick Useldinger <p at> writes:

> I am looking for alternatives to my current Linux OS, and am currently
> evaluating both FreeBSD and OpenBSD.
> Has anyone got a strong point for or against one of these OSes,
> specifically regarding Python? I am especially interested in 
> - the ease of compiling CPython
> - the thread support (both for Python and in general)
> - running Twisted.

I run OpenBSD and am more than happy with it.  It's the most secure of
the BSDs and is a very clean implementation.  You will find that
staying current with OpenBSD is more work than with Debian, because
they put out new releases every six months like clockwork.  The whole
base system comes in one piece (with optional compilers and X) and is
guaranteed to work well as an integrated unit.

Threads are fine.  I haven't tried Twisted.

Python is available as a package (binaries) and can also be built in
the ports tree (source from the OpenBSD CVS).  OpenBSD is unique among
the BSDs because when you build a port it creates a package, which is
then installed and entered into the package database.  That way you
have full information on what is installed on your system.

However, they do patch Python slightly by adding Modules/setup.local
to get around a non-standard naming of the tcl/tk libraries.

I've made a patch for Python which fixes this.  It works on OpenBSD
and should work on FreeBSD, but I haven't confirmed that. 

If you want to track the current Python CVS, ports won't work for you.
Just check out a copy of Python CVS, apply

and you should be able to build Python without a problem using the
tcl and tk packages from OpenBSD.


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