This appendix provides additional installation and configuration details as a resource for people new to such topics.
Because you need the Python interpreter to run Python scripts, the first step in using Python is usually installing Python. Unless one is already available on your machine, you’ll need to fetch, install, and possibly configure a recent version of Python on your computer. You’ll only need to do this once per machine, and if you will be running a frozen binary (described in Chapter 2) or self-installing system, you may not need to do much more.
Before you do anything else, check whether you already have a recent Python on your machine. If you are working on Linux, Mac OS X, or some Unix systems, Python is probably already installed on your computer, though it may be one or two releases behind the cutting edge. Here’s how to check:
On Windows, check whether there is a Python entry in the Start button’s All Programs menu (at the bottom left of the screen).
On Mac OS X, open a Terminal window
(Applications→Utilities→Terminal) and type
python at the prompt.
On Linux and Unix, type
python at a shell prompt (a.k.a.
terminal window), and see what happens. Alternatively, try
searching for “python” in the usual places—/usr/bin, /usr/local/bin, etc.
If you find a Python, make sure it’s a recent version. Although any recent Python will do for most of this text, this edition focuses ...