2.2. Installing Python from Binaries
If your platform is popular and current, you may find pre-built and packaged binary versions of Python ready for installation. Binary packages are typically self-installing, either directly as executable programs, or via appropriate system tools, such as the RedHat Package Manager (RPM) on Linux and the Microsoft Installer (MSI) on Windows. Once you have downloaded a package, install it by running the program and interactively choosing installation parameters, such as the directory where Python is to be installed.
To download Python binaries, visit http://www.python.org and follow the link labeled Download. At the time of this writing, the binary installers directly available from the main Python site are a Windows Installer (MSI) package:
and a Mac OS X Disk Image (.dmg) package suitable for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later on either a PowerPC or Intel processor ("Universal" format):
Many third parties supply free binary Python installers for other platforms. For Linux distributions, see http://rpmfind.net if your distribution is RPM-based (RedHat, Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE, etc.) or http://www.debian.org for Debian and Ubuntu. The site http://www.python.org/download/ provides links to binary distributions for OS/2, Amiga, RISC OS, QNX, VxWorks, IBM AS/400, Sony PlayStation 2, Sharp Zaurus, and Windows CE (also known as "Pocket PC"). Older Python versions, starting from 1.5.2, are also usable and functional, though not as powerful and polished as the current Python 2.4.3. The download page provides links to 1.5.2 and other installers for older or less popular platforms (MS-DOS, Windows 3.1, Psion, BeOS, etc.).
To get Python for Nokia Series 60 cellphones, see http://www.forum.nokia.com/python.
ActivePython (http://www.activestate.com/Products/ActivePython) is a binary package of Python 2.4, with several third-party extensions included, available for AIX, HP-UX, Linux (x86 processors only), Mac OS X, Solaris (SPARC, x64, and x86 processors), and Windows (all versions from Windows 95 to Windows XP and Windows Server 2003).
Enthought (http://www.enthought.com/python/) offers a large, rich binary distribution containing Python itself (at the time of writing, the stable release contained Python 2.3) and a huge wealth of pre-built, tested, and integrated add-on packages and tools that are particularly suitable for (but not limited to) scientific computing. At the time of writing, Enthought is available only as a self-installing EXE file for Windows, but there are plans to develop a similar packaging for Mac OS X, informally known as MacEnthon.
2.2.1. Apple Macintosh
Apple's Mac OS X, 10.3 ("Panther") and later, comes with Python 2.3 (text-mode only). Nevertheless, I heartily recommend you install the latest version and enhancements by following the instructions and links at http://www.python.org/download/releases/2.4.3/; due to Apple's release cycles, the Python version included with Mac OS is generally somewhat out of date, and lacks some functionality, such as bsddb and readline. Python's latest version installs in addition to, not instead of, Apple's supplied one; Apple uses its own version of Python and proprietary extensions to implement some of the software distributed as a part of Mac OS X, and it's unwise to risk disturbing that version.