[SciPy-user] What it the best way to install on a Mac?

Jerry lanceboyle@qwest....
Wed Jan 31 22:52:47 CST 2007

Thanks for all the comments. I've already downloaded Chris's package  
and will see how that goes--this isn't a high priority at the moment-- 
just planning ahead.

I have nothing but respect for you guys who make all of this happen,  
and I'm not trying to start a flame war. (I've unintentionally done  
that before, if not on this list, then on another, by suggesting that  
the installation process should be easy.)

First, I have installed a number of programs from source and it's  
usually a pain in the ass. If all that's required is one cycle of tar- 
cd-configure-make, that's OK by me, but it's not usually that easy,  
it seems. In the OS X world, it is customary that all of those  
convenient installation instructions such as were provided elsewhere  
in this thread to be codified into an installer.

(Pedantic comments follow--sorry.) On OS X, there are two kinds of  
installation methods (for mainstream software, that is). One is a  
single drag-and-drop operation from a disk image to the package's  
final destination. (Apple's "package" is a directory that acts like a  
double-clickable application program.) The other way (more  
appropriate for a lot of the open source stuff, probably) is an  
automated installer that "just works" and performs any necessary  
operations and then puts any number of files wherever they need to  
go, leaving a receipt file in a special place to aid uninstalling.  
Even installation from source could be wrapped up into such an  

There are a great many very smart people who would benefit from using  
Python and its accessories in a technical computing environment but  
who have no inclination (in fact, a great disinclination) to install  
from source. Many of these folks use Macs and simply won't stand for  
a difficult installation because it's not the Mac culture to do so.  
And let me tell you that "difficult installation" for a Mac user is a  
low bar indeed.

I would guess that four out of five technically-oriented Mac users  
would turn and run if they were considering using Python and its  
friends for their technical computing needs and encountered  
instructions to install from source. Fortunately, Chris's installer  
seems to be the answer. By the way, Chris, if you haven't done so  
already, you might post a notice over at http://www.macresearch.org/.  
I think it's a pretty new site but they passed the 10000-registered- 
user mark some time back and the rate of news postings has increased  
a lot lately. Also, a notice to Apple's ADC page about the installer  
would probably get some notice because they send e-mails to all the  
ADC folks every month or so with links to open source software.

Thanks again for the helpful comments.


On Jan 31, 2007, at 11:28 AM, Robert Kern wrote:

> joris@ster.kuleuven.ac.be wrote:
>> On Wednesday 31 January 2007 01:27, Robert Kern wrote:
>>> Learn to build from source. Because of the dependency on FORTRAN  
>>> runtime
>>> libraries, this is the lowest-hassle method.
>> This may be true at the moment, but I hope this will not be the  
>> general
>> philosophy for the future?
> It's not a philosophy; it's a technical problem. If you can solve  
> the technical
> problem, building from source will no longer be the lowest-hassle  
> method.
>> Having to build from source may scare off potential
>> numpy/scipy/matplotlib users... Yesterday someone said that he was  
>> trying to
>> install scipy from source for about 2 weeks now.
> I mean no disrespect to all the parties involved, but the common  
> problem that I
> see between all of the people who take such a long time to build  
> scipy is that
> they tend to thrash around, trying everything, without  
> understanding what
> they're doing. Going back and forth on a mailing list trying to  
> diagnose a
> problem naturally takes a long time. It's such a grossly  
> inefficient way to
> troubleshoot.
> But when there's a problem with the binary package, the same exact  
> thing
> happens. There is no substitute for learning.
>> It's not that I demand other people to make easy-to-install  
>> packages, but I
>> think that we're heading in the wrong direction if we don't even  
>> think that
>> easy-to-install packages are really necessary and that installing  
>> from source
>> works just fine.
> We're not. Solve the technical problem, and the whole issue will go  
> away.
> -- 
> Robert Kern
> "I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a  
> harmless enigma
>  that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as  
> though it had
>  an underlying truth."
>   -- Umberto Eco
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