Movable Python: The Portable Python Distribution

Movable Python Distributions

What's In the Box?

Python on a Stick


The Distribution

This page describes the Movable Python distributions. Which one should you buy, and what comes in the box ?

Which Distribution ?

The decision as to which distribution you want depends entirely on which version of Python you want to use.

  • Python 2.5
  • Python 2.4.4
  • Python 2.3.5
  • Python 2.2.3

The current version number is 2.0.0.

There is also a portable version of IDLE, called Movable IDLE. This is built with Python 2.4.3 and comes with the full Python standard library, but lacks a lot of the features of Movable Python.

What Comes in the Box

Each distribution is supplied as a single zipfile. Each zipfile contains a single directory (movpy-version) with the following subdirectories :

  1. docs
  2. docs_html
  3. licenses
  4. manuals
  5. movpy
  6. Firedrop2 Extras

A normal distribution is quite big (around 60 megabytes). This is because of all the extra libraries and tools that come with it. You can drastically reduce this size by removing the ones you don't need. See Customising Movable Python for details on how to do this.


This contains the text source files for Movable Python. These are intended to be rendered using rest2web.

In addition to the document source files it contains :

  • r2w.ini - the config file for rest2web to generate the HTML docs.

    You will need to edit the macros value to point to your macro file for this to work correctly.

  • template.txt - the HTML template for the generated docs.


The Movable Python documentation in HTML format. This directory also contains all the images and CSS stylesheet needed.


These are the licenses for the Python libraries and tools that come with Movable Python.

The Movable Python license is part of the documentation.


Documentation and manuals for some of the Python libraries and tools that come with Movable Python.


This is the distribution itself. It contains the executables movpy.exe and movpyw.exe, as well as several dlls.

movpyw.exe runs programs without the dos console box.

The lib directory is where the Special Files are located. These allow you to customize the behaviour of Movable Python.

Firedrop2 Extras

This contains extra files used by the macros in Firedrop2.

These don't go in the main Firedrop2 directory. You should follow the instructions in the documentation on how to use them. The documentation is included in the manuals folder.

Distribution Contents

Every Movable Python distribution comes with the full standard library. This means that it is capable of running any code that normal Python can. For an example of a large and complex program that runs under Movable Python, see SPE the Python editor. Smile

A Movable Python User also reports running Zope 3.2 with Movable Python.

Also included are several additional libraries and tools. Below is the list of packages and versions that are currently included:


For compatibility reasons it is not always possible to include all the packages (or the latest versions) in the Python 2.2 distributions.

The list below notes any differences.

Python 2.5

Several of the third party extensions included in Movable Python (like ctypes) are now a standard part of Python. For obvious reasons they're not included separately. Smile

To see all the new extensions in Python 2.5, see New, Improved, and Removed Modules.

Python 2.4

Python 2.4 come with the following tools and libraries :

  • psyco - Version 1.5.2 - The specialising compiler.

    The specializing compiler. Can be used to increase the speed of your Python programs.

    Through the GUI and command line you can turn psyco on for all programs that you run.

  • IPython - 0.7.1.fix1

    IPython is the default interactive interpreter for Movable Python.

    It has many advanced features over the standard one - as well as providing many functions normally only available from a command line shell.

  • wxPython - 2.8.0-unicode - The wxWidgets based GUI toolkit.

    wxPython is the powerful GUI toolkit based on wxWidgets.

    It includes the standard wxPython tools like the PyCrust Shell.

  • docutils - 0.4.0 - For rendering ReST documents.

    The set of libraries used to ReST into HTML and LaYTex.

  • ctypes - 1.0.1 - A library to call dlls from Python.

    This is needed for readline support in IPython. ctypes interfaces Python to external libraries.

  • readline - 1.12 - A port of GNU readline.

    The port of GNU readline to the windows platform.

    Used by IPython.

  • Firedrop2 - 0.2.2 - The Python blog client.

    The Python blog client. A fully featured tool for managing weblogs. It can also be used for managing document collections.

  • Wax - 0.3.33 - A toolkit making it easier to use wxPython.

    A wrapper layer that makes programming with wxPython a much more pleasant experience.

    Used by Firedrop.

  • pythonutils - 0.2.5 - A package of Python programming modules.

    A python Package containing several modules that simplify common programming tasks.

  • PyEnchant - 1.3.0 - A Python spell checker.

    A Python spell checker module. Used by Firedrop.

  • PyCrypto - 2.0.1 - Python cryptography toolkit.

    Python cryptography tools.

  • win32 extensions - Build 210 - Windows module.

    A set of Windows extensions for Python. This includes the Pythonwin IDE.

  • PIL - 1.1.6 - The Python Imaging Library.

    Image manipulation from Python.

  • Pmw - 1.2 - Python Megawidgets

IDLE, the Python editor in the standard library, is also included and works. This uses the version of TKinter/Tcl that usually comes with that version of Python.

Python 2.3

  • wxPython 2.8 is not available for Python 2.3. The version included in the Python 2.3 distribution is
  • Psyco 1.5.1

Python 2.2

The Python 2.2 distributions don't include IPython/readline/ctypes as IPython can't be made to work properly with python 2.2 (IPython requires a version of ctypes that isn't available for Python 2.2).

The last version of wxPython available for Python 2.2 is

In addition, error reporting from python 2.2 is less good. This affects the exec command we use to run scripts. It means that you may not get told which file the error was raised in.

Some of the other libraries may not be fully compatible with Python 2.2. These will either be removed or revert to earlier versions if unsolvable problems are discovered.

Listed here are extensions which are different from the versions for the Python 2.4/2.3 distributions :

  • wxPython - The wxWidgets based GUI toolkit.
  • Wax 0.3.27 - A toolkit making it easier to use wxPython.
  • Psyco 1.5.1

Special Files

As well as the program files, Movable Python has several files that control its behaviour. You can control most of these through the GUI, but you can also edit some of these by hand.

These are located in the lib directory.

Particularly, you might want to add paths to syspaths.pth (to add paths to sys.path) or edit customize.py to customise the environment programs run in.

See Special Files for details.

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Part of the Movable Python Docs
Page last modified Sat Apr 11 23:20:19 2009.

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