How do I determine if my python shell is executing in 32bit or 64bit mode on OS X?


I need a way to tell what mode the shell is in from within the shell.

I've tried looking at the platform module but it seems only to tell you about "about the bit architecture and the linkage format used for the executable": the binary is compiled as 64bit though (I'm running on OS X 10.6) so it seems to always report 64bit even though I'm using the methods described here to force 32bit mode).

5/29/2013 9:38:48 AM

Accepted Answer

UPDATED: One way is to look at sys.maxsize as documented here:

$ python-32 -c 'import sys;print("%x" % sys.maxsize, sys.maxsize > 2**32)'
('7fffffff', False)
$ python-64 -c 'import sys;print("%x" % sys.maxsize, sys.maxsize > 2**32)'
('7fffffffffffffff', True)

sys.maxsize was introduced in Python 2.6. If you need a test for older systems, this slightly more complicated test should work on all Python 2 and 3 releases:

$ python-32 -c 'import struct;print( 8 * struct.calcsize("P"))'
$ python-64 -c 'import struct;print( 8 * struct.calcsize("P"))'

BTW, you might be tempted to use platform.architecture() for this. Unfortunately, its results are not always reliable, particularly in the case of OS X universal binaries.

$ arch -x86_64 /usr/bin/python2.6 -c 'import sys,platform; print platform.architecture()[0], sys.maxsize > 2**32'
64bit True
$ arch -i386 /usr/bin/python2.6 -c 'import sys,platform; print platform.architecture()[0], sys.maxsize > 2**32'
64bit False
9/22/2012 12:18:24 AM

When starting the Python interpreter in the terminal/command line you may also see a line like:

Python 2.7.2 (default, Jun 12 2011, 14:24:46) [MSC v.1500 64 bit (AMD64)] on win32

Where [MSC v.1500 64 bit (AMD64)] means 64-bit Python. Works for my particular setup.

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