How to install python-libtorrent in virtualenv

Recently, I have needed to install Python binding for libtorrent (popular opensource C++ library, implementing the BitTorrent protocol).

And everything would be fine if there was an PyPI package provided for Linux. But it’s not.

In this article I will describe how to install this library from sources but without polluting system scope.

Problem description

In current situation the only way to use it - is to build it from sources or install as package of your Linux distribution.

Both possibilities has some cons:

  • system and current development environment scopes pollution
  • install by a package could be few versions outdated in comparison with an upstream
  • install from sources sometimes quite hard to rollback properly, as it leaves a lot of artifacts around the different paths

Because I have a lot of projects with different dependencies and I don’t want to overlap them, the preferable way of such installations for me is an isolated installation with a help of virtualenv.

Personally I like the virtualenvwrapper tool as it simplifies some typical workflow.

So how to install Python bindings for the C++ library isolated in virtualenv?

Here is step by step guide how to do it

Assume that you have Python, PIP and virtualenv or virtualenvwrapper installed. Also this guide is written with Ubuntu as a host system.

$ python --version
Python 2.7.6
$ pip --version
pip 7.1.2 from /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages (python 2.7)
  • Create new virtualenv or activate an existent one:
$ mkvirtualenv libtorrent
  • Install required dependencies required for building the libtorrent from sources as .deb packages. It could be removed after.
$ sudo apt-get build-dep python-libtorrent
  • Download and unpack the latest libtorrent tarball from the Sourceforge or Github. For example:
$ wget
$ tar -zxvf libtorrent-rasterbar-1.0.5.tar.gz
$ cd libtorrent-rasterbar-1.0.5/
  • Build the library from the sources.

Here is the small trick by the way: we need to provide additional options for default configure command - actual Python executable from the virtualenv and local path to install it, to make it installed locally not system-wide. Of course you can pass additional configuration options if needed, for geoip for example.

This commands could take a while if you have not very powerful machine.

$ ./configure --enable-python-binding PYTHON=`which python` --prefix=$VIRTUAL_ENV
$ make
$ make install
  • Let library know where it should be loaded:

If you plan to play with it for a while it could be a good idea to add an export into your ~/.bashrc or ~/.profile.

  • And finally let’s check it!
$ python
>>> import libtorrent
>>> libtorrent.version

As there is no import errors we assume that everything is working fine :)

Hope that post was useful!