Teething troubles with Python on a Mac

Sean DiZazzo half.italian at gmail.com
Mon Aug 4 07:01:54 CEST 2008

> Question 1: How can I locate the Python installation? There a few
> files under Applications > MacPython 2.5, but this is clearly not the
> entire installation.

find / -name "site-packages"

Will lead you to where SciPy and Numpy should be installed for each
Python installation.  You can work backwards from there.

> Question 2: In Finder, If I click on Search For > Past week, I can see
> a sequence of folders under the horizontal scroll bar at the bottom of
> the window, allowing me to determine that some files that were placed
> under Applications > MacPython 2.5> Extra> Demo. But I do not seem to
> be able to see the sequence of folders under the horizontal scroll bar
> in any finder window. What do I need to do to make the folder sequence
> visible in all Finder Windows?

You can do what you want in Leopard, but not in Tiger.  I Don't have a
Leopard install in front of me.  Check Finder->Preferences, or Finder-
>View->Show View Options

> Question 4. How do I get MacPython 2.5.2 to see SciPy, NumPy etc.

I've had very good luck with "easy_install" It downloads and installs
the right package for your install.


> Question 5. How can I find the current value of the PYTHONPATH
> environment variable, and how can I edit it and add a directory in
> which I keep my Python programs.

I'm not even sure it's set.  I have never had to worry about it.

> Question 6. Apparently there's a Property List Editor that must be
> used to create a file called ~ /.MacOSX/environment.plist. I can't
> find a directory called ~/.MacOSX. Is this a hidden directory?

It doesn't exist by default, you have to create it.  I don't have the
format of the environment.plist in front of me, but if I remember
correctly, you can create it with any text editor.  Or you can
download a freeware program to do the whole shebang for you:

> Item 4. I opened a terminal window, and typed ipython. Here's what I
> got:
> The ipython/IPython directory should be in a directory belonging to
> your
> PYTHONPATH environment variable (that is, it should be in a directory
> belonging to sys.path). You can copy it explicitly there or just link
> to it.
> Question 7. What is this cryptic message all about? I'm completely
> confused.

Try copying the ipython directory into the corresponding "site-
packages" directory from earlier.  Otherwise, scrap it and use

Good luck!


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