Python+tkinter errors on OSX

John Chambers jcsd at
Wed Jan 11 18:15:33 EST 2006

Sp my latest adventure is attempting to use python's Tkinter module on a few machines.
On my PB (OSX 10.3.9), I got the following confusing results:

/Users/jc: python
Python 2.3 (#1, Sep 13 2003, 00:49:11)
[GCC 3.3 20030304 (Apple Computer, Inc. build 1495)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
 >>> import Tkinter
Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "<stdin>", line 1, in ?
   File "/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/lib/python2.3/lib-tk/", line 38, in ?
     import _tkinter # If this fails your Python may not be configured for Tk
ImportError: No module named _tkinter
 >>> ^D
/Users/jc: ls -l /System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/lib/python2.3/lib-tk/*inter*
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  154289 13 Sep  2003 /System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/lib/python2.3/lib-tk/
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  262073 13 Sep  2003 /System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/lib/python2.3/lib-tk/Tkinter.pyc
-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel  262073 13 Sep  2003 /System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.3/lib/python2.3/lib-tk/Tkinter.pyo

So I'm trying to discover what's going wrong here, and how to fix it.
It does appear that Tkinter has been "installed", in some weak sense
of the term.  Under /System/Library/... there's a lib-tk directory, and
it contains some Tkinter.* files.  Furthermore, python's import command
clearly looked there and did something with the expected
file.  But whatever it did was clearly not enough, because something
called "_tkinter" was expected but not found.

I also experimented with PATH and PYTHONPATH, to no apparent
effect on anything.

Anyone here know how to diagnose and/or fix this?  What's it trying
to tell me?  I have a feeling that it's there somewhere, but the proverbial
ducks aren't lined up quite right.

(Or maybe this isn't the right NG for such questions.  If so, what might
be a better one?)

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