path: root/ext/python/Tools/freeze/README
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authorJeroen van Meeuwen (Kolab Systems) <>2011-03-13 14:34:11 +0000
committerJeroen van Meeuwen (Kolab Systems) <>2011-03-13 14:34:11 +0000
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+(Directions for Windows are at the end of this file.)
+What is Freeze?
+Freeze make it possible to ship arbitrary Python programs to people
+who don't have Python. The shipped file (called a "frozen" version of
+your Python program) is an executable, so this only works if your
+platform is compatible with that on the receiving end (this is usually
+a matter of having the same major operating system revision and CPU
+The shipped file contains a Python interpreter and large portions of
+the Python run-time. Some measures have been taken to avoid linking
+unneeded modules, but the resulting binary is usually not small.
+The Python source code of your program (and of the library modules
+written in Python that it uses) is not included in the binary --
+instead, the compiled byte-code (the instruction stream used
+internally by the interpreter) is incorporated. This gives some
+protection of your Python source code, though not much -- a
+disassembler for Python byte-code is available in the standard Python
+library. At least someone running "strings" on your binary won't see
+the source.
+How does Freeze know which modules to include?
+Previous versions of Freeze used a pretty simple-minded algorithm to
+find the modules that your program uses, essentially searching for
+lines starting with the word "import". It was pretty easy to trick it
+into making mistakes, either missing valid import statements, or
+mistaking string literals (e.g. doc strings) for import statements.
+This has been remedied: Freeze now uses the regular Python parser to
+parse the program (and all its modules) and scans the generated byte
+code for IMPORT instructions. It may still be confused -- it will not
+know about calls to the __import__ built-in function, or about import
+statements constructed on the fly and executed using the 'exec'
+statement, and it will consider import statements even when they are
+unreachable (e.g. "if 0: import foobar").
+This new version of Freeze also knows about Python's new package
+import mechanism, and uses exactly the same rules to find imported
+modules and packages. One exception: if you write 'from package
+import *', Python will look into the __all__ variable of the package
+to determine which modules are to be imported, while Freeze will do a
+directory listing.
+One tricky issue: Freeze assumes that the Python interpreter and
+environment you're using to run Freeze is the same one that would be
+used to run your program, which should also be the same whose sources
+and installed files you will learn about in the next section. In
+particular, your PYTHONPATH setting should be the same as for running
+your program locally. (Tip: if the program doesn't run when you type
+"python" there's little chance of getting the frozen version
+to run.)
+How do I use Freeze?
+Normally, you should be able to use it as follows:
+ python
+where is your program and is the main file of
+Freeze (in actuality, you'll probably specify an absolute pathname
+such as /usr/joe/python/Tools/freeze/
+What do I do next?
+Freeze creates a number of files: frozen.c, config.c and Makefile,
+plus one file for each Python module that gets included named
+M_<module>.c. To produce the frozen version of your program, you can
+simply type "make". This should produce a binary file. If the
+filename argument to Freeze was "", the binary will be called
+Note: you can use the -o option to freeze to specify an alternative
+directory where these files are created. This makes it easier to
+clean up after you've shipped the frozen binary. You should invoke
+"make" in the given directory.
+Freezing Tkinter programs
+Unfortunately, it is currently not possible to freeze programs that
+use Tkinter without a Tcl/Tk installation. The best way to ship a
+frozen Tkinter program is to decide in advance where you are going
+to place the Tcl and Tk library files in the distributed setup, and
+then declare these directories in your frozen Python program using
+the TCL_LIBRARY, TK_LIBRARY and TIX_LIBRARY environment variables.
+For example, assume you will ship your frozen program in the directory
+<root>/bin/windows-x86 and will place your Tcl library files
+in <root>/lib/tcl8.2 and your Tk library files in <root>/lib/tk8.2. Then
+placing the following lines in your frozen Python script before importing
+Tkinter or Tix would set the environment correctly for Tcl/Tk/Tix:
+import os
+import os.path
+RootDir = os.path.dirname(os.path.dirname(os.getcwd()))
+import sys
+if sys.platform == "win32":
+ sys.path = ['', '..\\..\\lib\\python-2.0']
+ os.environ['TCL_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '\\lib\\tcl8.2'
+ os.environ['TK_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '\\lib\\tk8.2'
+ os.environ['TIX_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '\\lib\\tix8.1'
+elif sys.platform == "linux2":
+ sys.path = ['', '../../lib/python-2.0']
+ os.environ['TCL_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tcl8.2'
+ os.environ['TK_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tk8.2'
+ os.environ['TIX_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tix8.1'
+elif sys.platform == "solaris":
+ sys.path = ['', '../../lib/python-2.0']
+ os.environ['TCL_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tcl8.2'
+ os.environ['TK_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tk8.2'
+ os.environ['TIX_LIBRARY'] = RootDir + '/lib/tix8.1'
+This also adds <root>/lib/python-2.0 to your Python path
+for any Python files such as _tkinter.pyd you may need.
+Note that the dynamic libraries (such as tcl82.dll tk82.dll python20.dll
+under Windows, or and under Unix) are required
+at program load time, and are searched by the operating system loader
+before Python can be started. Under Windows, the environment
+variable PATH is consulted, and under Unix, it may be the
+environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH and/or the system
+shared library cache ( An additional preferred directory for
+finding the dynamic libraries is built into the .dll or .so files at
+compile time - see the LIB_RUNTIME_DIR variable in the Tcl makefile.
+The OS must find the dynamic libraries or your frozen program won't start.
+Usually I make sure that the .so or .dll files are in the same directory
+as the executable, but this may not be foolproof.
+A workaround to installing your Tcl library files with your frozen
+executable would be possible, in which the Tcl/Tk library files are
+incorporated in a frozen Python module as string literals and written
+to a temporary location when the program runs; this is currently left
+as an exercise for the reader. An easier approach is to freeze the
+Tcl/Tk/Tix code into the dynamic libraries using the Tcl ET code,
+or the Tix Stand-Alone-Module code. Of course, you can also simply
+require that Tcl/Tk is required on the target installation, but be
+careful that the version corresponds.
+There are some caveats using frozen Tkinter applications:
+ Under Windows if you use the -s windows option, writing
+to stdout or stderr is an error.
+ The Tcl [info nameofexecutable] will be set to where the
+program was frozen, not where it is run from.
+ The global variables argc and argv do not exist.
+A warning about shared library modules
+When your Python installation uses shared library modules such as
+_tkinter.pyd, these will not be incorporated in the frozen program.
+ Again, the frozen program will work when you test it, but it won't
+ work when you ship it to a site without a Python installation.
+Freeze prints a warning when this is the case at the end of the
+freezing process:
+ Warning: unknown modules remain: ...
+When this occurs, the best thing to do is usually to rebuild Python
+using static linking only. Or use the approach described in the previous
+section to declare a library path using sys.path, and place the modules
+such as _tkinter.pyd there.
+If you have trouble using Freeze for a large program, it's probably
+best to start playing with a really simple program first (like the file If you can't get that to work there's something
+fundamentally wrong -- perhaps you haven't installed Python. To do a
+proper install, you should do "make install" in the Python root
+Usage under Windows 95 or NT
+Under Windows 95 or NT, you *must* use the -p option and point it to
+the top of the Python source tree.
+WARNING: the resulting executable is not self-contained; it requires
+the Python DLL, currently PYTHON20.DLL (it does not require the
+standard library of .py files though). It may also require one or
+more extension modules loaded from .DLL or .PYD files; the module
+names are printed in the warning message about remaining unknown
+The driver script generates a Makefile that works with the Microsoft
+command line C compiler (CL). To compile, run "nmake"; this will
+build a target "hello.exe" if the source was "". Only the
+files frozenmain.c and frozen.c are used; no config.c is generated or
+used, since the standard DLL is used.
+In order for this to work, you must have built Python using the VC++
+(Developer Studio) 5.0 compiler. The provided project builds
+python20.lib in the subdirectory pcbuild\Release of thje Python source
+tree, and this is where the generated Makefile expects it to be. If
+this is not the case, you can edit the Makefile or (probably better) (e.g., if you are using the 4.2 compiler, the
+python20.lib file is generated in the subdirectory vc40 of the Python
+source tree).
+It is possible to create frozen programs that don't have a console
+window, by specifying the option '-s windows'. See the Usage below.
+Here is a list of all of the options (taken from freeze.__doc__):
+usage: freeze [options...] script [module]...
+-p prefix: This is the prefix used when you ran ``make install''
+ in the Python build directory.
+ (If you never ran this, freeze won't work.)
+ The default is whatever sys.prefix evaluates to.
+ It can also be the top directory of the Python source
+ tree; then -P must point to the build tree.
+-P exec_prefix: Like -p but this is the 'exec_prefix', used to
+ install objects etc. The default is whatever sys.exec_prefix
+ evaluates to, or the -p argument if given.
+ If -p points to the Python source tree, -P must point
+ to the build tree, if different.
+-e extension: A directory containing additional .o files that
+ may be used to resolve modules. This directory
+ should also have a Setup file describing the .o files.
+ On Windows, the name of a .INI file describing one
+ or more extensions is passed.
+ More than one -e option may be given.
+-o dir: Directory where the output files are created; default '.'.
+-m: Additional arguments are module names instead of filenames.
+-a package=dir: Additional directories to be added to the package's
+ __path__. Used to simulate directories added by the
+ package at runtime (eg, by OpenGL and win32com).
+ More than one -a option may be given for each package.
+-l file: Pass the file to the linker (windows only)
+-d: Debugging mode for the module finder.
+-q: Make the module finder totally quiet.
+-h: Print this help message.
+-x module Exclude the specified module.
+-i filename: Include a file with additional command line options. Used
+ to prevent command lines growing beyond the capabilities of
+ the shell/OS. All arguments specified in filename
+ are read and the -i option replaced with the parsed
+ params (note - quoting args in this file is NOT supported)
+-s subsystem: Specify the subsystem (For Windows only.);
+ 'console' (default), 'windows', 'service' or 'com_dll'
+-w: Toggle Windows (NT or 95) behavior.
+ (For debugging only -- on a win32 platform, win32 behavior
+ is automatic.)
+script: The Python script to be executed by the resulting binary.
+module ...: Additional Python modules (referenced by pathname)
+ that will be included in the resulting binary. These
+ may be .py or .pyc files. If -m is specified, these are
+ module names that are search in the path instead.
+--Guido van Rossum (home page: