Chapter 1. Installing Python

Welcome to Python. Let's dive in. In this chapter, you'll install the version of Python that's right for you.

1.1. Which Python is right for you?

The first thing you need to do with Python is install it. Or do you?

If you're using an account on a hosted server, your ISP may have already installed Python. Most popular Linux distributions come with Python in the default installation. Mac OS X 10.2 and later includes a command-line version of Python, although you'll probably want to install a version that includes a more Mac-like graphical interface.

Windows does not come with any version of Python, but don't despair! There are several ways to point-and-click your way to Python on Windows.

As you can see already, Python runs on a great many operating systems. The full list includes Windows, Mac OS, Mac OS X, and all varieties of free UNIX-compatible systems like Linux. There are also versions that run on Sun Solaris, AS/400, Amiga, OS/2, BeOS, and a plethora of other platforms you've probably never even heard of.

What's more, Python programs written on one platform can, with a little care, run on any supported platform. For instance, I regularly develop Python programs on Windows and later deploy them on Linux.

So back to the question that started this section, “Which Python is right for you?” The answer is whichever one runs on the computer you already have.