Difference between ActivePython and Python.org

Trent Mick trentm at ActiveState.com
Thu Dec 15 01:01:22 CET 2005


[S.Chang wrote]
> Anyone knows the difference(s) between the Python binaries from 
> ActiveState and Python.org?

The responses to this thread so far gave most of the differences. In
summary:

- On Windows, ActivePython includes the PyWin32 extensions.
- ActivePython rolls the core Python docs and a bunch of extra doc bits
  into one package, as detailed here:
    http://aspn.activestate.com/ASPN/docs/ActivePython/2.4/about.html
- We have binary installers for more platforms:
    win32-x86
    linux-x86
    macosx-powerpc
    solaris-sparc
    solaris-x86
    hpux-parisc
    aix-powerpc
  (And we'll likely have a few more in the future, in particular
  macosx-x86 and perhaps some newer 64-bit platforms.)
- As Neil pointed out, ActivePython does not currently have SSL bindings
  (the _ssl module) that python.org's Python builds do. We are currently
  going through the legal hurdles so that we can include those. I expect
  that by or before the Python 2.5 timeframe we'll have _ssl in
  ActivePython.
- ActivePython is free, but is not open source so, as Steve mentioned,
  you need permission if you want to *re-distribute* ActivePython.
  However, *using* ActivePython is still completely free and using tools
  like py2exe and py2app to wrap up your scripts and distribute those is
  fine.
- ActivePython provides a Windows "debug" package: a zip of the
  debug-build libs that you can install into your Python install
  (python.org installs to as of the next release[1]). This can be useful
  for some people building debug builds of Python extensions.

One of the important things is how ActivePython is NOT different:
ActivePython should be fully binary compatible with python.org builds.
This is to ensure that 3rd-party extensions built for and tested on one
will just work on the other.


[BartlebyScrivener wrote]
> The ActiveState version lags behind for a month or two in versions,

That is occassionaly true, yes, but not always. ActivePython 2.4.2 was,
I believe, a few weeks behind. 2.4.0 was released within a day or two. 


[Neil Hodgson wrote]
> It would be helpful if the ActivePython "What's Included" page listed
> which parts of the python.org distribution are not included.

Good point. I'll update those docs now for the next release.


Cheers,
Trent (the ActivePython dude at ActiveState)

[1] Distributing the Python Windows debug build libs. 
    http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-November/057896.html
    http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-dev/2005-December/058446.html

-- 
Trent Mick
TrentM at ActiveState.com



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