Early in the book, we set up system Python. Why? Because it is quick and easy to use. When you start using more complex libraries and tools, you will likely need a more advanced setup. An advanced Python setup on your machine is helpful when trying to organize projects. An advanced setup also helps if you need to run both Python 2.7 and Python 3+.
In this appendix, we walk you through setting up your Python environment in Expert mode. Because there are a lot of dependencies involved, it is entirely possible some parts of these instructions might not line up with your experience. To resolve issues, we suggest going to the Web to find, or ask, how to continue.
We’ll start by installing a couple of core tools, then install Python (2.7, but you could install 3+ at this point). Lastly, we’ll install and set up some virtual environments, which isolate projects so you can have different versions of a Python library for each project.
These instructions cover Mac, Windows, and Linux setups. As you read through each step, carefully follow the instructions for your particular operating system.
The purpose of GCC (the GNU Compiler Collection) is to take Python libraries with C extensions and turn them into something your machine can understand and execute.