bootstrapping on machines without Python

Tim Golden mail at
Fri Nov 13 14:57:37 CET 2009

Jonathan Hartley wrote:
> While examining py2exe et al of late, my thoughts keep returning to
> the idea of writing, in C or similar, a compiled stand-alone
> executable 'bootstrapper', which:
> 1) downloads and install a Python interpreter if none exists
> 2) runs the application's Python source code using this interpreter.

Thinking aloud about what you're describing here... Assuming Windows,
as your starting point is py2exe and I imagine that most Unix-like
boxes already have Python on them.

Step 1: The user downloads a tiny myapp.exe which is basically a zip of the
myapp package / files plus an .exe header which will...

Step 2a: ... download a minimised? (ie custom-built) Python interpreter
and stdlib bundle which is just enough to run the app. Or...

Step 2b: ... download and install the official Windows
installer for version x.y identified as the highest known to run
this app if...

Step 2bi) ... that version of the interpreter isn't already installed
and registered on that machine (at least: for that user).

My step 2a seems to be little better than a bundled py2exe, so I can
only assume you mean Step 2b, especially given your comment below
about ending up with an installation of Python where one wasn't
before. This, though, seems fraught with accusations of backdoor
installations etc.

Have I misunderstood you? For the Record, I'm entirely in favour of moves
to make Python use on Windows more seamless, attractive, consistent,
etc. I was going to comment positively on your recent PyChooser widget
and to plug a similar but unpublished one of my own. But I'm not sure
if this particular proposal has enough wings to make it fly.


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