StaticPython released

This blog post is an announcement of the StaticPython software distribution and its first release.

What is StaticPython?

StaticPython is a statically linked version of the Python 2.x (currently 2.7) interpreter and its standard modules for 32-bit Linux systems (i686, i386). It is distributed as a single, statically linked 32-bit Linux executable binary, which contains the Python scripting engine, the interactive interpreter with command editing (readline), the Python debugger (pdb), most standard Python modules (including pure Python modules and C extensions), coroutine support using greenlet and multithreading support. The binary contains both the pure Python modules and the C extensions, so no additional .py or .so files are needed to run it. It also works in a chroot environment. The binary uses uClibc, so it supports username lookups and DNS lookups as well (without NSS).

Download and run

Download the lastest StaticPython 2.7 executable binary.

Here is how to use it:

$ wget -O python2.7-static \
$ chmod +x python2.7-static
$ ./python2.7-static
Python 2.7 (r27:82500, Aug 11 2010, 10:51:33) 
[GCC 4.1.2] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

For what purpose is StaticPython useful?

  • for running Python scripts in chroot and other restricted environments (e.g. for running untrusted standard Python code)
  • for running CGI scripts on some web hosting providers where Python is not preinstalled (this is slow)
  • for trying the newest Python and running scripts on a very old Linux system or on a system where package installation is not possible or cumbersome
  • for deploying and running Tornado, Eventlet or Twisted-based networking applications on a machine without a working Python installation (please note that the framework itself has also to be deployed)

When isn't StaticPython recommended?

  • if dependencies need Python package installation (e.g. distutils, setuptools, setup.py, Pyrex, Cython) -- distutils is not included, there is no site-packages directory, loading .so files is not supported
  • if dependencies are or need shared libraries (.so files) -- StaticPython doesn't support loading .so files, not even with the dl or ctypes modules
  • if startup and module import has to be fast -- since StaticPython stores .py files (no .pyc) in a ZIP file at the end of the binary
  • for GUI programming -- no GUI or graphics library is included, loading .so files is not supported

How to extend, customize or recompile StaticPython?

Compiling python2.7-static was a one-off manual process. Automating this process has not been implemented yet. Please contact the author if you need this.

Feature details

Features provided

  • command-line editing with the built-in readline module
  • almost all standard Python 2.7 modules built-in
  • almost all standard C extensions built-in: _bisect, _codecs, _codecs_cn, _codecs_hk, _codecs_iso2022, _codecs_jp, _codecs_kr, _codecs_tw, _collections, _csv, _curses, _elementtree, _functools, _heapq, _hotshot, _io, _json, _locale, _lsprof, _md5, _multibytecodec, _multiprocessing, _random, _sha, _sha256, _sha512, _socket, _sockobject, _sqlite3 (added 1004307 bytes to the executable binary size), _sre, _struct, _symtable, _weakref, array, audioop, binascii, bz2, cPickle, cStringIO, cmath, crypt, datetime, errno, fcntl, fpectl, future_builtins, gc, grp, imageop, itertools, math, mmap, operator, parser, posix, pwd, pyexpat, readline, resource, select, signal, spwd, strop, syslog, termios, thread, time, timing, zipimport, zlib
  • greenlet integrated for coroutine support
  • multithreading (using thread and threading as usual)
  • line editing even without a terminfo definition or inputrc file (useful in chroot, provided by libreadline/libncurses by default)
  • the usual help, license used in interactive mode

Executable binary layout

  • Python 2.7 (r27:82500) on Linux i386, statically linked compiled and linked with uClibc, so it supports username lookups and DNS lookups as well (without NSS).
  • pure Python and C extensions integrated to a single, statically linked, i386 (i686) Linux executable
  • compiled with uClibc so it can do DNS lookups without /lib/libss_*so*
  • can run from any directory, even in chroot containing only the binary, even in interactive mode, even without /proc mounted

Features missing

  • missing: loading .so files (C shared libraries, Python C extensions)
  • missing: the ctypes module and the dl module (since no .so file loading support)
  • missing: the distutils module, custom extension installation
  • missing: !OpenSSL, SSL sockets
  • missing: IPv6 support
  • missing: GUI bindings (tkinter, GTK, Qt etc.)
  • missing: Stackless Python

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