EPD: Aiming for x86_64 OS X builds

We’ve recently made the decision to start applying resources to generating x86_64 OS X builds of EPD. Because of limited resources, this means we’re officially dropping PPC support in EPD. It also means that it may take us months to get things released for the x86_64 (also known as amd64) architecture.

As an example of some of the issues we’ll face, we’ll need to decide how to handle the GUI backend situation. You see, the wxWidgets project hasn’t yet released 64-bit build support for OS X’s Cocoa framework, and the Carbon framework isn’t 64-bit, so we’re stuck either starting with a “server” / console build of EPD, shipping on an unreleased version of wxWidgets, delaying the release while we help finalize x86_64 Cocoa builds of wxWidgets and wxPython, or switching to a different backend like Qt.

While Qt and the PyQt (Python bindings for Qt) seems like a no-brainer technology-wise, the license situation is a hurdle for us to overcome. We’ve tried hard, but haven’t always succeeded, to avoid GPL licensed projects in EPD in order to make it more palatable to commercial users, like even our own consulting projects. And, yes, Qt itself recently came out with an LGPL license option that would suit EPD’s needs, but PyQt isn’t similarly licensed (yet). So now we have to decide whether such a core capability (the only GUI backend of OS X x86_64) would be acceptable to be GPL licensed.

If any one has any thoughts or suggestions on how to resolve this issue, please don’t hesitate to let us know!

By the way, regarding the PPC situation, we have effectively already started to drop PPC support with the EPD Py25 v4.3.0 release. We made a good faith effort to build in the PPC support but simply didn’t do significant testing of the results. In the end, it turns out that at least one core module, SciPy, ended up with binaries that don’t fully support PPC. Sorry, but we do not plan to issue fixes for this.

If you’re a PPC user, the last working version of EPD for PPC was EPD Py25 v4.2.30201.

5 thoughts on “EPD: Aiming for x86_64 OS X builds

  1. avatarGael Varoquaux

    Hey Dave,

    I think this blog post was very informative as to the challenges EPD tries to solve. You really need to do more of this kind of communication on the value of EPD. Good job!

  2. avatarDave Peterson

    @jds We offer both a 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x86_64/amd64) build of EPD on RedHat versions 3.x, 4.x, and 5.x.

  3. avatarGuits

    Is there a specificic PPC download page where the link the link to download the EPD Py25 v4.2.30201 is available ?

  4. avatarNick

    Perhaps there could be a TraitsBackendCocoa which uses PyObjC (v2.0 now ships with OSX 10.6) and the Cocoa libraries direct? I only just found Traits so I’ve no idea how much work this would be.

    It’s a real shame about the PyQt licensing as Qt is a fantastic cross platform library, much more so than GTK (although they are doing a great job for FOSS project).


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