Install from source on a x86_64 machine

Paul Boddie paul at
Thu Oct 19 12:12:11 CEST 2006

Christopher Taylor wrote:
> Being relatively new to linux I'm a little confused about what options
> I need to use to build python from source.

The README should provide sufficient information, although if you want
to install Python into /usr rather than /usr/local (as I believe is the
default), you need to run configure as follows:

./configure --prefix=/usr

> Currently, I have python installed as part of the inital RHEL4 load
> located at /usr/bin/Python and /usr/bin/Python2.3 .  Some of the files
> are located in /usr/lib64/Python2.3 and in /usr/lib/Python2.3 .
> Please let me know if you need dir lsitings.

In fact, it's /usr/bin/python, /usr/bin/python2.3, /usr/lib64/python2.3
and /usr/lib/python, since Red Hat hasn't decided to capitalise the
name of the software. ;-)

> I'm trying to compile from source and plan on using the
> --enable-unicode=ucs4 option for the configure script due to some RHEL
> messing around with Tcl/Tk.
> *** How do I get make altinstall to put the appropriate files in
> /usr/lib64/Python2.4 and /usr/lib/Python2.4 respectively ? ***

The configured Makefile together with the various other tools should
work out where to put the libraries. I'm a newcomer to x86-64, although
I've had some relatively recent experience with sparc64, and whilst I'm
not really familiar with the way the various tools choose the install
directory of libraries, I've noticed that sometimes 64-bit libraries
end up in lib rather than lib64. Meanwhile, I notice that the Red Hat
libraries do adhere correctly to the expectation that 32-bit libraries
are found under /usr/lib/python2.3 and 64-bit libraries are found under

Perhaps you should configure and make Python, then run the install
process in "pretend" mode:

make -n altinstall

You'll get a huge amount of output, but this should at least tell you
what the installation process is thinking of doing, and it won't be
overwriting anything important while it does so.


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