Python executable not finding libpython shared library


I am installing Python 2.7 on CentOS 5. I built and installed Python as follows

./configure --enable-shared --prefix=/usr/local
make install

When I try to run /usr/local/bin/python, I get this error message

/usr/local/bin/python: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

When I run ldd on /usr/local/bin/python, I get

ldd /usr/local/bin/python => not found => /lib64/ (0x00000030e9a00000) => /lib64/ (0x00000030e9200000) => /lib64/ (0x00000030fa200000) => /lib64/ (0x00000030e9600000) => /lib64/ (0x00000030e8e00000)
    /lib64/ (0x00000030e8a00000)

How do I tell Python where to find libpython?

10/24/2011 7:06:23 PM

Accepted Answer

Try the following:

LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib /usr/local/bin/python

Replace /usr/local/lib with the folder where you have installed if it is not in /usr/local/lib.

If this works and you want to make the changes permanent, you have two options:

  1. Add export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=/usr/local/lib to your .profile in your home directory (this works only if you are using a shell which loads this file when a new shell instance is started). This setting will affect your user only.

  2. Add /usr/local/lib to /etc/ and run ldconfig. This is a system-wide setting of course.

12/6/2011 10:34:39 AM

Putting on my gravedigger hat...

The best way I've found to address this is at compile time. Since you're the one setting prefix anyway might as well tell the executable explicitly where to find its shared libraries. Unlike OpenSSL and other software packages, Python doesn't give you nice configure directives to handle alternate library paths (not everyone is root you know...) In the simplest case all you need is the following:

./configure --enable-shared \
            --prefix=/usr/local \

Or if you prefer the non-linux version:

./configure --enable-shared \
            --prefix=/usr/local \

The "rpath" flag tells python it has runtime libraries it needs in that particular path. You can take this idea further to handle dependencies installed to a different location than the standard system locations. For example, on my systems since I don't have root access and need to make almost completely self-contained Python installs, my configure line looks like this:

./configure --enable-shared \
            --with-system-ffi \
            --with-system-expat \
            --enable-unicode=ucs4 \
            --prefix=/apps/python-${PYTHON_VERSION} \
            LDFLAGS="-L/apps/python-${PYTHON_VERSION}/extlib/lib -Wl,--rpath=/apps/python-${PYTHON_VERSION}/lib -Wl,--rpath=/apps/python-${PYTHON_VERSION}/extlib/lib" \

In this case I am compiling the libraries that python uses (like ffi, readline, etc) into an extlib directory within the python directory tree itself. This way I can tar the python-${PYTHON_VERSION} directory and land it anywhere and it will "work" (provided you don't run into libc or libm conflicts). This also helps when trying to run multiple versions of Python on the same box, as you don't need to keep changing your LD_LIBRARY_PATH or worry about picking up the wrong version of the Python library.

Edit: Forgot to mention, the compile will complain if you don't set the PYTHONPATH environment variable to what you use as your prefix and fail to compile some modules, e.g., to extend the above example, set the PYTHONPATH to the prefix used in the above example with export PYTHONPATH=/apps/python-${PYTHON_VERSION}...

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