Re: Python: (was: Re: file i/o api for URL)
Sun, 15 May 1994 10:29:11 +0200

> This is the Xth reference (where 2 < X < 10) to Python in a week on this
> list. Would someone kindly briefly explain what Python is and where it can
> be found?

Sure! Quoting from the Python FAQ, (ir)regularly posted to

1.1. Q. What is Python?

A. Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming
language. It incorporates modules, exceptions, dynamic typing, very
high level dynamic data types, and classes. Python combines
remarkable power with very clear syntax. It has interfaces to many
system calls and libraries, as well as to various window systems, and
is extensible in C or C++. It is also usable as an extension language
for applications that need a programmable interface. Finally, Python
is portable: it runs on many brands of UNIX, on the Mac, and on

To find out more, the best thing to do is to start reading the
tutorial from the documentation set (see a few questions further

1.3. Q. How do I obtain a copy of the Python source?

A. The latest Python source distribution is always available by
anonymous ftp from [] in the directory
/pub/python, with filename python<version>.tar.gz. (Old versions may
have an extension of .Z, indicating use of "compress" compression.)
It is a gzip'ed tar file containing the complete C source, LaTeX
documentation, Python library modules, example programs, and several
useful pieces of freely distributable software. This will compile and
run out of the box on most UNIX platforms. At the time of writing,
<version> is 1.0.2. (See section 7 for non-UNIX information.)

1.4. Q. How do I get documentation on Python?

A. The latest Python documentation set is always available by
anonymous ftp from [] in the directory
/pub/python, with filename pythondoc-ps<version>.tar.gz. It is a
gzip'ed tar file containing PostScript files of the reference manual,
the library manual, and the tutorial. At the time of writing
<version> is 1.0.2. Note that the library manual is the most
important one of the set, as much of Python's power stems from the
standard or built-in types, functions and modules, all of which are
described here. PostScript for a high-level description of Python is
in the file

The following sites keep mirrors of the Python distribution:

Site IP address Directory /pub/plan/python/cwi /languages/python /graphics/graphics/sgi-stuff/python /pub/languages/python (old?) /pub/unix/languages/python (*python* only)

Or try archie on e.g. python1.0 to locate the nearest copy of that

1.5. Q. Is there a newsgroup or mailing list devoted to Python?

A. There is a newsgroup, comp.lang.python, and a mailing list. The
newsgroup and mailing list are gatewayed into each other -- if you can
read news it is not necessary to subscribe to the mailing list. Send
e-mail to to (un)subscribe to the mailing

--Guido van Rossum, CWI, Amsterdam <>
URL: <>