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pythonz: a Python installation manager


pythonz is a program to automate the building and installation of Python versions in the user's $HOME. This is a fork of the original project, pythonbrew.

The original project seems to be unmaintained, and it also has some extra features which I don't really need, so I made this fork to make something a bit simpler that works for me. You may also find it useful.

CPython, Stackless, PyPy and Jython are supported.


The recommended way to download and install pythonz is to run these statements in your shell:

curl -kL | bash


fetch -o - | bash

After that, pythonz installs itself to ~/.pythonz.

Please add the following line to the end of your ~/.bashrc:

[[ -s $HOME/.pythonz/etc/bashrc ]] && source $HOME/.pythonz/etc/bashrc

If you need to install pythonz into somewhere else, you can do that by setting a PYTHONZ_ROOT environment variable:

export PYTHONZ_ROOT=/path/to/pythonz
curl -kLO
chmod +x pythonz-install

For Systemwide (Multi-User) installation

If the install script is run as root, pythonz will automatically install into /usr/local/pythonz.

pythonz will be automatically configured for every user on the system if you install it as root.

After installing it, where you would normally use sudo, non-root users will need to use sudo-pythonz:

sudo-pythonz install 2.7.3

Before installing Python versions via pythonz

You might want to install some optional dependencies, for functionality that is often expected to be included in a Python build (it can be a bummer to discover these missing and have to rebuild your Python setup). These include the following, ordered by (very roughly guessed) probability that you will need them:

Debian family (Ubuntu...)

sudo apt-get install build-essential zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev libssl-dev libreadline-dev libncurses5-dev libsqlite3-dev libgdbm-dev libdb-dev libexpat-dev libpcap-dev liblzma-dev libpcre3-dev

If you need tkinter support, add tk-dev.

RPM family (CentOS, RHEL...)

yum groupinstall "Development tools"
yum install zlib-devel bzip2-devel openssl-devel readline-devel ncurses-devel sqlite-devel gdbm-devel db4-devel expat-devel libpcap-devel xz-devel pcre-devel

If you need tkinter support, add tk-devel.


Apple stopped including the OpenSSL development headers in OS X El Captian and macOS Sierra. You will need to install OpenSSL with Homebrew (or MacPorts). This document assumes usage of Homebrew.

xcode-select --install
brew install openssl

You should then add variables for CPPFLAGS and LDFLAGS to your shell environment. This allows pythonz to find the OpenSSL installed by Homebrew.

export CPPFLAGS="-I/usr/local/opt/openssl/include"
export LDFLAGS="-L/usr/local/opt/openssl/lib"


pythonz command [options] version

See the available commands

pythonz help

To get help on each individual command

pythonz help <command>

Install some Python versions

pythonz install 2.7.3
pythonz install -t stackless 2.7.2
pythonz install -t jython 2.5.2
pythonz install -t pypy --url 1.8
pythonz install --verbose 2.7.2
pythonz install --configure="CC=gcc_4.1" 2.7.2
pythonz install --url 2.7.2
pythonz install --file /path/to/Python-2.7.2.tgz 2.7.2
pythonz install 2.7.3 3.2.3
pythonz install -t pypy3 2.3.1

List the installed Python versions

pythonz list

List all the available Python versions for installing

pythonz list -a

List all the available Jython versions

pythonz list -a -t jython

Uninstall the specified Python

pythonz uninstall 2.7.3
pythonz uninstall -t stackless 3.2.2

Remove stale source folders and archives

pythonz cleanup

Upgrade pythonz to the latest version

pythonz update

Check the installed pythonz version

pythonz version

Print the path to the interpreter of a given version

pythonz locate 2.7.7

Recommended way to use a pythonz-installed version of Python

For Python <= 3.2

Use virtualenv, e.g.:

mkvirtualenv -p $(pythonz locate 2.7.3) python2.7.3

For more information about virtualenv, check out the virtualenv documentation.

For Python >= 3.3

Use pyvenv directly from Python, e.g.:

/usr/local/pythonz/pythons/CPython-3.4.1/bin/pyvenv pyvenv

For more information about pyvenv, check out the pyvenv documentation.

DTrace support

CPython versions 2.7.6 and 3.3.4 can be built with DTrace suport. Patches adding support for DTrace have been taken from this page by Jesús Cea.

Building Python with DTrace support:

pythonz install --configure="--with-dtrace" 2.7.6