New Enthought Python Distribution (EPD)

A new version of EPD (py2.5 4.0.30002) is now available on Enthought’s download page.

Best Kept Secret

The following image really gets me excited about EPD:

No, I’m not talking about the crazy download sizes (which, BTW really grew with this release because of many more included docs). What excites me is something that gets little press about EPD (and writing applications using Python, in general) — EPD provides a common environment for running applications across several platforms. This is a huge win in Enthought’s business–I suspect others will see the light soon enough. A great example of a sophisticated application that is written once and runs everywhere is Mayavi (which is included with EPD as part of the Enthought Tool Suite). Here’s the proof:

On Windows:

On OS X:

(BTW, for those who’ve never heard of it, Mayavi is a fantastic 3D visualization application written by Prabhu Ramachandran with help from Gael Varoquaux and others.) I suspect this to be a boon for scientific and engineering application development going forward because it allows code to be shared across the religious groups of Windows, Linux and OS X users.

“Still not enough,” you say?

Alright, so we’re up to over 80 included packages. Since we’re going for a “kitchen-sink-included” distribution of Python, I’d be interested to hear of any feedback on what we need to include in EPD to meet our goal of the perfect scientific/data exploration environment. Suggestions for packages, as well as pointers to areas where more development is needed, are welcome. I already have SymPy (ticket) on my personal wishlist. Other packages, such as pywavelets (ticket) and PyAMG (ticket) have also been mentioned. Please comment below with any more suggestions.

EPD is a Subscription
I’ve written before about Enthought’s mission and strategy with open source software. I believe EPD’s role in this strategy is to provide a high quality, supported bundle that injects powerful open source tools into “the Enterprise.” The more commercial interest in EPD, the more resources we have to fund our chosen tool stack (and to fund our commitment to provide a quality distribution at no cost to academic users). Since EPD has many of the characteristics of a Linux distro (lots of included pieces that have to be vetted together, provenance issues to be sorted, focus on stability through iteration) we’ve chosen a subscription model (similar to RedHat’s approach) for commercial and governmental users. Of course all of EPD’s contents are available for free from their respective sources. We’ve found a targeted bundle to be helpful in our business, our hope is that others find it useful as well.

12 thoughts on “New Enthought Python Distribution (EPD)

  1. avatarJohn K

    I would love to see BioPython in the distribution. I and other people I work with want to use Python instead of Perl for bioinformatics scripts, and including BioPython in this excellent bundle may get us over the hump.

  2. avatarStefan

    I don’t want to troll here, because I really like scipy, but I wish you would work on disentangling the parts of EPD, create single dep packages and write a meta-package, that brings the pieces together (that’s the way all the debian based distributions work). I understand that your focus is on commercial Red Hat users (apart from Win and Mac, ofcause), but the majority of scientists I know, who use Linux, are using a Debian variant (mostly Ubuntu) and they will never sacrifice the great stability of there packaging system just to install ETS (the other parts are in every normal Linux distribution).
    And I wish you would take more care on keeping the parts usable for scientists who will not use Traits…
    But anyway: thank you for your commitment to free software and python!

  3. avatarRob Hetland

    I would like to see netcdf4-python included. I see that the netcdf and hdf libraries are already included. The current netcdf package is pycdf, however, I think that netcdf4 is more complete. It uses the new netcdf4 standard (which, by the way, is also able to read and write netcdf3 files), has a separate package to link to the netcdf3 libraries with the same API, and has a number of other very useful tools, like netcdftime.

  4. avatartravis

    Stefan, the components of EPD are largely available in the Debian packages. There may be some version lag, but in some cases (like with ETS), the packages are made available sooner than the corresponding EPD versions. Gael Varoquaux and Varun Hiremath are doing an excellent job in this regard (hat’s off to them!).

    Here’s a link to a recent announcement:

    Also, traits are not at all required for scipy, numpy, ipython, etc. There are only a subset of packages in ETS that depend on traits, and (thankfully) use the power of traits to bring a tremendous amount of functionality with little code. The code refactor that has evolved over the past year and a half has focused on correcting any unnecessary entanglement of dependencies in this regard.

    The focus of EPD is to provide one-stop-shopping for Windows, Mac and some Linux users. We hope the various Linux distros continue to do what they do so well–provide packages for a variety of useful tools, including SciPy, NumPy, ETS and all their dependencies. We try to comply with all the licensing and release requirements to make this easy to accomplish.

  5. avatarIonut

    Nice work, thanks. But, I can not understand why you are supporting Redhat 3, and there are no packages for Redhat 5.x, Suse/OpenSUSE.

  6. avatartravis

    Ionut, the priority of distributions is driven by the demand from our consulting clients and Enterprise subscribers. We understand the importance of deploying to more “modern” versions, though. Our roadmap here:

    …gives some window into the timelines for that support. Note: RHEL 5 just happens to be the next milestone.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  7. avatarTony Mannucci

    I’m going to nitpick here and ask the EPD include support for pydb. It seems that right now it does not, even though ipython supports it (ipython -pydb). I had installed ipython separately and was able to work the pydb support into the EPD distribution with a manual copy. It seems to work OK, but of course the best way is with the distribution.

    I’ll also vote for basemap, essential for geophysics. I’ve heard it’s in the upcoming release. Great news!

  8. avatarThomas

    I just wanted to thank you for including networkx in this release. I recently gave a talk with a coding component to biologists using python and networkx whose platforms spanned pretty much all platforms; your distribution made this (mostly) painless.

    I am also excited about biopython being implemented at some point in the future. Bioperl has previously been a favorite for bioinformatics people, but I hope that further exposure to biopython will change that.

    In short, your continuing contribution to the scientific community is commendable.

  9. avatarchris

    please could you provide the following information fro me.. what organisation maintains the enthought python distrubution and what organisation develops python now


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