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system wide site-packages dir not used on Mac OS X #49115

kapet mannequin opened this issue Jan 7, 2009 · 7 comments

system wide site-packages dir not used on Mac OS X #49115

kapet mannequin opened this issue Jan 7, 2009 · 7 comments
OS-mac stdlib Python modules in the Lib dir type-bug An unexpected behavior, bug, or error


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kapet mannequin commented Jan 7, 2009

BPO 4865
Nosy @loewis, @ronaldoussoren, @ned-deily
  • apple.diff: Diff stock Python 2.5.1 against Apple Python
  • Note: these values reflect the state of the issue at the time it was migrated and might not reflect the current state.

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    GitHub fields:

    assignee = ''
    closed_at = <Date 2009-03-30.23:16:33.941>
    created_at = <Date 2009-01-07.12:51:01.510>
    labels = ['OS-mac', 'type-bug', 'library']
    title = 'system wide site-packages dir not used on Mac OS X'
    updated_at = <Date 2016-12-03.07:23:22.443>
    user = '' fields:

    activity = <Date 2016-12-03.07:23:22.443>
    actor = 'ned.deily'
    assignee = 'ronaldoussoren'
    closed = True
    closed_date = <Date 2009-03-30.23:16:33.941>
    closer = 'ronaldoussoren'
    components = ['Library (Lib)', 'macOS']
    creation = <Date 2009-01-07.12:51:01.510>
    creator = 'kapet'
    dependencies = []
    files = ['12637']
    hgrepos = []
    issue_num = 4865
    keywords = ['patch']
    message_count = 7.0
    messages = ['79329', '79352', '79355', '84552', '84711', '282273', '282276']
    nosy_count = 5.0
    nosy_names = ['loewis', 'ronaldoussoren', 'ned.deily', 'kapet', 'python-dev']
    pr_nums = []
    priority = 'normal'
    resolution = 'fixed'
    stage = 'resolved'
    status = 'closed'
    superseder = None
    type = 'behavior'
    url = ''
    versions = ['Python 3.1', 'Python 2.7']

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    Mannequin Author

    kapet mannequin commented Jan 7, 2009

    [Guido asked me to file this as an issue.]

    On Mac OS X Apple has configured the system provided Python to also
    search this global site-packages directory:

    This allows users to install their own system-wide packages there (and
    not have them to drop into /System/Library/Frameworks/Python....../).

    Unfortunately if you install Python from (or
    it is not searching this path, it only searches the site-packages
    directory _within_ its own framework:
    That directory is of course not searched by the Apple provided Python.

    This is an issue for addon package installers (think PIL or numpy):
    There is no single path that will be found by both the system provided
    Python and a Python installed from This makes most/all (?)
    of the pre-built packages on unusable with the version of
    Python Apple ships although there is no version conflict or such - it
    simply installs stuff in the "wrong" directories.

    Many people who tried to install PIL for Django or App Engine stumbled
    into this. The system provided Python version was fine. But compiling
    PIL is hard. So they installed PIL from That couldn't
    be found by Python. Now some people manually copied stuff around, some
    created symlinks, some installed a second Python 2.5. (The lucky ones
    picked a Python download from, the not so lucky ones
    installed the 2.5.0 release from

    I've attached a diff of a stock Python 2.5.1 library against what I
    found on my Apple Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) system. I've dropped changes
    that are not related to the path.

    @kapet kapet mannequin added stdlib Python modules in the Lib dir OS-mac type-bug An unexpected behavior, bug, or error labels Jan 7, 2009
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    loewis mannequin commented Jan 7, 2009

    IIUC, you are not the author of the patch (in the sense that you wrote
    the new code), but rather created a diff between Apple's code and
    Python's. In this case, we cannot accept the patch - it needs to be
    contributed by the authors (i.e. Apple).

    Furthermore, I fail to see how this patch can affect the places were
    Python searches for site-packages - it only deals with Python code that
    might need adjustment if Python would search in this other location.

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Mannequin Author

    kapet mannequin commented Jan 7, 2009

    Sorry, I should have made this clear: I am NOT proposing to add this
    patch. I meant this more to show what related changes were done by
    Apple. Some of these clearly wouldn't even work like this if applied to
    a Python not installed in /System/Library/Frameworks/...

    IMHO the most interesting piece of that diff is the change to
    which makes it look into /Library/Python/

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    I'm in favour of adding /Library/Python/x.y/ to sys.path for Python 2.7
    and 3.1 and will work on that during the Pycon sprints.

    /Library/Python will be added after the site-packages directory inside
    the framework instead of replacing the latter directory. The reason for
    this is that we don't want to install all packages in a location that's
    visible to Apple's copy of Python because you could accidently replace
    packages that Apple ships as part of the "Extras" directory that way.
    Replacing those is bad because those libraries are used by Apple system
    software and replacing stuff might therefore break the system
    (particularly on server systems).

    I won't backport to 2.6 and 3.0 because this is a feature request and
    not a bugfix.

    W.r.t. building PIL and other extensions: we've had a discussion about
    this during the startup phase of the macpython-sig sprint and we have
    some ideas to make this situation less painful in the future (without
    necessarily having to patch Python for that).

    @ronaldoussoren ronaldoussoren self-assigned this Mar 30, 2009
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    Committed a fix for this as r70778 (trunk), r70782 (3.1)

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    python-dev mannequin commented Dec 3, 2016

    New changeset a8a342b3fbc7 by Ned Deily in branch '2.7':
    Issue bpo-28440: No longer add /Library/Python/site-packages, the Apple-supplied

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    Update: this change has been reverted in Python 2.7.13. See Issue bpo-28440 for details.

    @ezio-melotti ezio-melotti transferred this issue from another repository Apr 10, 2022
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    OS-mac stdlib Python modules in the Lib dir type-bug An unexpected behavior, bug, or error
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