[Pythonmac-SIG] Why Do I Explicitly Need MacPython

Bob Ippolito bob at redivi.com
Wed Sep 20 04:46:28 CEST 2006

On 9/19/06, Robert Love <rblove at airmail.net> wrote:
> I see version 2.5 is released today.  I see there is a packaged
> version called MacPython.  My question is why do I need it?  Or
> rather if I install it, what happens to my existing python that came
> with OSX?  I see that by default MacPython installs in /usr/local/bin
> but what about the frameworks that came with OSX developer.  Are they
> still used?

It does not touch anything from the existing system. It's entirely
separate. The only difference is that you'll have a newer version of
Python available, and it will be the default when you type "python" at
the Terminal prompt (assuming you don't disable that feature in the
installer, and you've opened a new terminal since the installation).

> I'd like a simple explanation of what MacPython does for me and my
> existing installation.  I did check the FAQ but didn't see any thing
> like this.

MacPython is newer and community supported. It can be used to build
universal redistributable applications. Universal MacPython 2.4.3 is
the safest bet right now, 2.5 just came out (today!) and there are
known incompatibilities with several popular applications. There also
many pre-built easy to install libraries available for 2.4:

The Python that ships with Mac OS X is very old (2.3.5 rather than the
current 2.4.3 or 2.5.0) and not very supported at this point. You'll
have to build just about everything on your own. It also ships with a
whole bunch of known bugs that Apple isn't ever planning to fix (until
you buy and upgrade to Leopard, of course). If you build libraries
with it, they will not be universal. It's not (reasonably) possible to
build self-contained applications with this version of Python either.
It's ok for little scripts, but not so much for serious development.


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