Python installing on Debian

Haim Ashkenazi haim at
Tue Mar 30 19:21:49 CEST 2004

Ed Cogburn wrote:

> Haim Ashkenazi wrote:
>> Ryan Spencer wrote:
>>>On Mon, 29 Mar 2004 03:43:25 +0200, Haim Ashkenazi wrote:
>>>>It's a very bad idea to install self-compiled applications to the same
>>>>prefix as the ones from original packages. this can breake many things
>>>>on your computer. what you have now is a semi-broke python installation,
>>>>and a package that tries to install itself every time you run apt-get
>>>>but fails.
>>>>I think your best chance to "clean" things would be to uninstall every
>>>>python2.3 package on your system (see what happenes when you run
>>>>'apt-get remove --purge python2.3'). but make sure you understand what
>>>>you're doing (e.g. do you really want to purge your zope installaion? do
>>>>you have important stuff there, do you know how to restore it?). then if
>>>>there's still stuff in /usr/lib/python2.3 and /usr/local/lib/python2.3
>>>>check that they don't belong to any package (with dpkg -S filename) and
>>>>remove them. also check if you have a python binary in /usr/local/bin
>>>>and delete it. then re-install all the python2.3 packages. this
>>>>of-course will make you lose all your self-compiled modules, so you'll
>>>>have to re-compile them. this is a long and messy job, but you got
>>>>yourself into this position. just make sure you understand what you're
>>>>doing before your doing it.
>>>>in the future I would recommend using the source from unstable to build
>>>>a package if you want a version newer then the one that exist in
>>>>testing. also use 'stow' when you're compiling sources. this will let
>>>>you uninstall self-compiled application easilly.
>>>>>Thanks a lot,
>>>>good-luck (you'll need it) :(
>>>It actually needn't be that messy. dpkg --purge'ing will only remove the
>>>package in question, whereas using a program such as debfoster and
>>>pruning the selected target package will remove all it's associate
>>>dependencies entirely eradicating it from your system, maybe leaving
>>>behind empty configuration folders in your home directory, but there's no
>>>fret for that those won't be taking up barely any space and you can
>>>always remove them later.
>> in my system 'apt-get remove --purge python2.3' wants to remove 401
>> packages. that's what I meant messy. you have to check that you didn't
>> change any system configuration file for any of the packages. and as a
>> rule, it's a good idea to understand what's you're doing. I've seen too
>> many times people following instructions and then discovering that
>> nothing works without knowing how to restore...
> It seems apt has gotten so popular that everyone has forgotten about dpkg,
> which apt is built upon.  :)  Yes, apt-get follows dependencies in that
> way,
> which is why apt was created, to handle dependencies automatically.  In
> this case however, it may not be necessary to remove everything to restore
> python.
>    It makes sense to try the least painful remedy first.  If it were me, I
> would first try rebuilding the python .deb package from my system with
> dpkg-repack as a backup, then using 'dpkg --force-all --purge python2.3'
> to delete just the python interpreter itself, not any of the packages that
> depend
> on it.  Clean any python directories/files left behind (there sometimes is
> in places like /etc and /usr/lib, etc), then reinstall python2.3 using the
> .deb
> you created with dpkg-repack.  If that fails, then try downloading a
> guaranteed virgin copy of the .deb package and repeating again.  If that
> fails too, then you're forced to start purging other python-related things
> to figure
> out whats causing the problem.  My point is that when apt doesn't do what
> you need it to do, you can always fall back on dpkg.
this can work, but he should not only remove python2.3 package, but all the
packages that have files there. that's the only way he can really clean
this directory. I think (like most applications) that the python2.3 deb is
only a part of the whole python 2.3 distribution (which, I think, installs
also idle for example, which is in another package). also, the files on
'/usr/local/lib/python2.3' can also be from a self-compiled source...

> In this case the problem is likely to be the OP partially overwrote
> Debian's python with his own custom compiled one, because I have seen that
> "import
> site" failure happen when I did this myself some time ago.  I wasn't even
> installing the compiled version, I just built it and manually transferred
> the shared libs and executable to /usr, but that was enough to break some
> of the
> written-in-python library files.  Moral of the story: don't mix standard
> and
> custom-built packages.  If you want to try a custom built one, completely
> deinstall the standard one first.


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