Manging multiple Python installation

Mike Meyer mwm at
Thu Sep 8 07:54:57 CEST 2005

Andy Leszczynski <> writes:

> Robert Kern wrote:
>> Andy Leszczynski wrote:
>>>Jeremy Jones wrote:
>>>>Andy Leszczynski wrote:
>>>>Download the source, untar, cd to the new directory, run:
>>>>./configure --prefix=/opt/mypython
>>>>make install
>>>Is there any way to pass the prefix to the "make install"?
>> Is passing it to the configure script a problem?
> not really but seems to be a bit illogical to me that the build (set
> of executables and libraries) depends on the destination installation
> path.

It's not clear that the build depends on the destination. The
install does, though. The Makefile does the install, so it needs the
prefix. config builds the makefile, so it also needs the prefix.

> Under M$ Windows I was able to install Python in let's say C:\Program
> Files\python and then move/copy it frelly to whatever location I
> need. Only thing was the resetting PATH to the new location. I miss
> that under Linux.

Are you sure it doesn't work well enough for you to use on Linux? A
quick grep on the python binary and library files reveal that only
pydoc knows the prefix - and that points to files that don't exist on
my system. That leaves five things to worry about: unix avoids making
the user muck with the path by installing the binary in the path, so
you have to move the binaries and the libraries separately. The pydoc
executable uses the path to the python binary in it's #! line. If you
use the shared binary, you may have to muck with the load library
state information (not sure what to use to do this on your
Linux). Third party libraries may break. Oh yeah - tracebacks on .pyc
and .pyo files may be confused because the source files aren't where
they where when the file was generated,  but that should be the same
as it is on Windows.

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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