This tutorial will walk you through the process of building PyUblas. To follow, you really only need three basic things:

Step 1: Install Boost

You may already have a working copy of the Boost C++ libraries. If so, make sure that it’s version 1.35.0 or newer. If not, no problem, we’ll build it now. Before you start, make sure you have the Python headers (i.e. development information) installed. Your operating system may call this package something like python-dev or python-devel. Next, download the Boost release tar.bz2 file. Then, do this:

$ tar xfj ~/download/boost_1_35_0.tar.bz2
$ cd boost_1_35_0
$ ./ --prefix=$HOME/pool
$ make
$ make install

(Whenever you see the “$” dollar sign, this means you should enter this at your shell prompt. You don’t have to be root. A few spots are marked with “su -c” to show that these do require root privileges if you are using a Python interpreter that is install globally.)

You may adapt the file and directory names to suit your liking, however the rest of this tutorial will assume that you use these paths.


Please make sure that the Boost.Python configuration process finds the version of Python you intend to use. It is output during the configure/make stage.

If you see something like:

...failed updating 30 targets...
...skipped 2 targets...

at the end of the build process, please double-check that you have the Python headers installed. If you failed fewer targets (up to 5), you’re probably ok for hedge, but you might still want to install libz-dev and libbz2-dev for that “perfect score”.

Tell the Dynamic Linker about Boost

If you use a bash or /bin/sh or another POSIX-compliant shell, use this command:


or, if you are still using a C Shell, use this:


You might want to put this command in your startup script, so you don’t have to type this over and over. If you forget this step, you will see errors like this one later on:

cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

Step 2: Download and unpack PyUblas

Download PyUblas and unpack it:

$ tar xfz PyUblas-VERSION.tar.gz

Step 3: Install Numpy

If you don’t already have numpy installed, this is how to get it:

$ cd PyUblas-VERSION
$ su -c "python" # this will install setuptools
$ su -c "easy_install numpy" # this will install numpy using setuptools

(If you’re not sure, repeating these commands will not hurt.)

Step 4: Create and Customize a Configuration File

Copy and paste the following text into a file called (Make sure not to miss the initial dot, it’s important.) in your home directory:

BOOST_BINDINGS_INC_DIR = ['/home/andreas/pool/include/boost-bindings']
BOOST_INC_DIR = ['/home/andreas/pool/include/boost-1_35']
BOOST_LIB_DIR = ['/home/andreas/pool/lib']
BOOST_PYTHON_LIBNAME = ['boost_python-gcc42-mt']

You will need to adapt the path names in this file to your personal situation, of course.

Step 5: Build PyUblas

Just type:

$ cd PyUblas-VERSION # if you're not there already
$ sudo python install

Note that gcc42 is a compiler tag that depends on the compiler with which you built boost. Check the contents of your boost library directory to find out what the correct tag is.

Once that works, congratulations! You’ve successfully built PyUblas.

Step 6: Test PyUblas

If you’d like to be extra-careful, you can run PyUblas’s unit tests:

$ cd PyUblas-VERSION/test
$ python

If it says “OK” at the end, you’re golden.

Alternate Installation using Boost.Build

MSVC users can build PyUblas using boost bjam. Unpack Boost in a parallel directory to pyublas and then run bjam in the pyublas directory. A subdirectory named “pyublas” will be created with the files required for the Python extension module.