Sunday, March 25, 2012

matplotlib on 10.7.3

I upgraded my home "Desktop" (a Mac mini that had been running OS X Server 10.6) to Lion (10.7.3) yesterday. This post is just to note that the pkgconfig method still works for installing matplotlib. To recap, I used Homebrew to install pkgconfig, which can then be used by the matplotlib build process to find zlib, libpng and libfreetype. It's as simple as:

git clone git://
cd matplotlib/
python build
sudo python install

There were a few hiccups, of course. The motivation for changing to 10.7 was that my MobileMe email (and iDisk storage) are going away at then end of June. So I "upgraded" to iCloud, after installing 10.7.3 on my laptop. However, this made Mail extremely sluggish on the machines with 10.6. Mail showed the little triangle (which I think means it's having trouble) for 15 minutes at a time and wouldn't get email from the server.

I had various troubles with the install that I believe relate to having bought Lion using my first Apple ID (which used my work email) rather than my second (which uses my .mac email). It irritated me, but seemed that the simplest solution was to just buy Lion again. So I did that, and everything started working fine.

Another issue was to get Xcode (Developers Tools) from the App Store. This is free, but involves various hoops to jump through, the weirdest of which is that gcc is no longer a part of the default install. You have to start Xcode and go to Preferences > Downloads > Command Line Tools. Why would they do that? Anyway, having gcc

> ls -al /usr/bin/gcc
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel  12 Mar 24 23:14 /usr/bin/gcc -> llvm-gcc-4.2

I used Homebrew to get pkgconfig, and then built matplotlib as shown above. Simple scripts work. I used easy_install nose (with sudo) to install nose, which is needed by matplotlib's tests, then did

python -v -d

from within the matplotlib directory. The result looks good:

Ran 1086 tests in 290.786s


Now I just have to re-install my favorite Safari extensions (forgot to save them), and find the license key for TextMate. I'm making it work, but all these hoops to jump through, and Apple's Big Brother mentality, are making me think seriously about switching to Linux for my hobbyist programming.

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