Category Archives: Enthought Python Distribution

“Why We Built Enthought Canopy, An Inside Look” Recorded Webinar

We posted a recording of a 30 minute webinar that we did on the 20th that covers what Canopy is and why we developed it. There’s a few minutes of Brett Murphy(Product Manager at Enthought) discussing the “why” with some slides, and then Jason McCampbell (Development Manager for Canopy) gets into the interesting part with a 15+ minute demo of some of the key capabilities and workflows in Canopy. If you would like to watch the recorded webinar, you can find it here (the different formats will play directly in different browsers so check them and you won’t have to download the whole recording first):

Summed up in one line: Canopy provides the minimal set of tools for non-programmers to access, analyze and visualize data in an open-source Python environment.

The challenge in the past for scientists, engineers and analysts who wanted to use Python had been pulling together a working, integrated Python environment for scientific computing. Finding compatible versions of the dozens of Python packages, compiling them and integrating it all was very time consuming. That’s why we released the Enthought Python Distribution (EPD) many years back. It provided a single install of all the major packages you needed to do scientific and analytic computing with Python.

But the primary interface for a user of EPD was the command line. For a scientist or analyst used to an environment like MATLAB or one of the R IDEs, the command line is a little unapproachable and makes Python challenging to adopt. This is why we developed Canopy.

Enthought Canopy is both a Python distribution (like EPD) and an analysis environment. The analysis environment includes an integrated editor and IPython prompt to faciliate script development & testing and data analysis & plotting. The graphical package manager becomes the main interface to the Python ecosystem with its package search, install and update capabilities. And the documentation browser makes online documentation for Canopy, Python and the popular Python packages available on the desktop.

Check out the Canopy demo in the recorded webinar (link above). We hope it’s helpful.

Welcome EdX students!

Welcome to EPDFree EdX students! We are honored to partner with EdX to offer up a Python environment you can use for your studies. For those of you who don’t know, “EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that features learning designed specifically for interactive study via the web.”

We’ve always had a strong relationship with the academic community and are excited about accelerating the speed of science with our tools and consulting work. It’s exciting to know we will be a part of this ambitious initiative to train the next generation of scientists around the world. Good luck on those problem sets!


Well, DataGotham is over. The conference featured a wide cross section of the data community in NYC. Talks spanned topics from “urban science” to “finding racism on FourSquare” to “creating an API for spaces.” Don’t worry, the videos will be online soon so you can investigate yourself. The organizers did a great job putting a conference of this size together on relatively short notice. Bravo NYC data crunchers!

One thing I somehow missed was a network graph created by the organizers to illustrate the tools used by attendees. I am happy to see python leading the way! The thickness of the edge indicates the number of people using both tools. It seems there are a lot of people trying to make Python and R “two great tastes that go great together.” I’m curious as to why more Python users aren’t using numpy and scipy. Food for thought…

Got tools?

Just released! EPD 7.3 plus beta version of EPD 8.0

Today we have for you not just one, but two exciting EPD releasesan update of EPD to 7.3 and a beta release previewing new features coming in EPD 8.0.

The EPD 7.3 update adds several new packages including Shapely, openpyxl, and a new package from Enthought named Enaml.  Enaml is a new package for rapidly building UIs using a very “Pythonic” declarative language heavily inspired by Qt’s QML langage.

EPD 7.3 also includes a host of package updates, including adding OpeNDAP support to the NetCDF4 package. Overall over 30 packages have been updated, including Cython, IPython, pandas, basemap, scikit-learn, Twisted and SQLAlchemy.

EPD 8.0 beta takes all that we know and love in EPD 7.x and adds an all-new graphical development and analysis environment.  The new GUI is focused on providing a fast, lightweight interface designed for scientists and engineers.  Some of the key features are:

  • A Python-centric text editor including tab-completion plus on-the-fly code analysis.
  • An interactive Python (IPython) prompt integrated with the code editor to enable rapid prototyping and exploration.
  • A Python package manager to make is easier to discover, install, and update packages in the Enthought Python Distribution.
  • Integrated documentation, both on the GUI itself and standard online documentation.

Which version should you install?  EPD 7.3 is the current production release and has the most testing behind it.  If you want to try out EPD 8.0 beta we would love to hear what you think.  EPD 8 is designed to work with earlier versions so once you install the GUI you can either setup a new EPD environment or tell it to use your existing one.  And don’t worry, it’s safe — it won’t modify your existing EPD.

As always, if you have an existing EPD 7.x install that you want to keep you can update all of the Python packages to EPD 7.3 by running the command “enpkg epd” from the command line.  Or, if you have installed the EPD 8 GUI, just open the package manager, select the ‘EPD’ package and click ‘Install’.  It will update you EPD 7.x environment for you.

EPD 8 can be downloaded from

Any comments, questions, complaints, or compliments on the beta release can be sent to

EPD 7.2 released

EPD 7.2I am pleased to announce the release of Enthought Python Distribution, EPD version 7.2, along with its “EPD Free” counterpart. The highlights of this release are: the addition of GDAL and updates to over 30 packages, including SciPy, matplotlib and IPython. The new IPython 0.12 includes the HTML notebook, which is why the Tornado web-server was also added to EPD.

Experimental PySide support in ETS

Over the last couple of weeks I added support for PySide to the majority of the ETS packages, including Traits, Chaco and Enable. I have only tested personally with Ubuntu 10.10 and PySide Beta 1, but we’re beginning to test with OS X (Windows is next). With any luck, the next ETS release will have full PySide support, and the next EPD release will include PySide eggs.

Right now, to use PySide in ETS, you have to set an environment variable QT_API=pyside. I hope by the time ETS 3.6 is released we can ditch the environment variable, but I can’t make any promises.

EPD 6.1: MKL on Linux, Windows, & OSX

There were several reasons we initially decided to include MKL, an extensively threaded, highly optimized library, in the Enthought Python Distribution. For one thing, we like that MKL detects the processing capability of the machine and then runs optimal algorithm for that hardware. Secondly, we knew that MKL would offer faster linear algebra routines than the ATLAS framework, previously used for EPD Linux and Windows, and Accelerate library, previously used for OSX.

We didn’t anticipate, however, just how dramatic that speed up would be. Our benchmarking tests document the astounding increases in processing speed that MKL lends to EPD.

In EPD 6.1, NumPy and SciPy are dynamically linked against the MKL linear algebra routines. This allows EPD users to seamlessly benefit from the highly optimized BLAS and LAPACK routines in the MKL. In addition, EPD 6.1 comes bundled with all of the MKL run-time libraries so that advanced users can take advantage (with ctypes) of even more of the MKL library such as fast Fourier transforms, trust-region optimization methods, sparse solvers, and vector math.

We’re really pleased with the optimizations MKL offers to our EPD users. Try out EPD 6.1 for yourself!

PyCon Giveaway Winners Announced

Corran, Ilan, and Travis had a great time at PyCon 2010 in Atlanta. We collected names for two drawings at our booth and just drew the winners this morning. Joseph Tennies, from Esterline, won the seat at an Enthought Open Training Course.

Meanwhile, Basic subscriptions will go out to:

  • Jason Zillioux
  • R. Mark Sharp, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research
  • Piotr Adam Zolnierczuk, Oak Ridge National Lab
  • Daniel Schep, Savannah River National Lab

Congratulations to all the winners!