Mac vs. Linux for Python Development

Ned Deily nad at
Sun Mar 2 00:07:29 CET 2014

In article <4e741358-ce12-40ac-97b8-3bbbf2d6ddca at>,
 "Mark H. Harris" <harrismh777 at> wrote:
> [...]
> The main problem you will see with OSX (if you're not careful) is that IDLE 
> will be unstable.  To be fair about it, its not IDLE's problem, per se.  Its 
> about tcl/tk tkinter.  DO NOT use the built-in tcl that comes from Apple, nor 
> the one that comes through the Apple store!  Actually go to the Active TCL 
> site and download the version related to your system (yes there is a 
> different one depending on 10.5 10.6 etc).

The gory details are here:

TL;DR You'll need to install newer versions of Python (like those 
download from that link with third-party builds of Tcl/Tk 
rather than use the Pythons and Tcl/Tk that Apple ships with OS X 10.6+.

> [...]
> If you want to use terminals on OSX you'll want to install  Quartz  and run 
> the terminal on the emulated X environment.  It works better for python IMHO. 
>  The built-in terminal for OSX need serious configuring (which is possible) 
> because its color is bad, and its tiny by default, with a crummy font. All of 
> that can be changed, but it just works better to use XQuartz.

That certainly is a matter of preference.  There are plenty of drawbacks 
to using X11-based apps on OS X.  I wouldn't advise new users to OS X to 
go that route unless they were really set on using X11 entirely and, in 
that case, why use OS X at all?  If you don't like Apple's built-in, another option is to use iTerm 2, an open source native 
alternative that has many more features.

It's also available through MacPorts.

 Ned Deily,
 nad at

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