tree: 98b548fb21a95082c429f6ff0b9c707bf35392fd [path history] [tgz]
  1. compatibility_tests/
  2. google/
  3. release/
  8. setup.cfg
  11. tox.ini

Protocol Buffers - Google's data interchange format

Build Status

Copyright 2008 Google Inc.

This directory contains the Python Protocol Buffers runtime library.

Normally, this directory comes as part of the protobuf package, available from:

The complete package includes the C++ source code, which includes the Protocol Compiler (protoc). If you downloaded this package from PyPI or some other Python-specific source, you may have received only the Python part of the code. In this case, you will need to obtain the Protocol Compiler from some other source before you can use this package.

Development Warning

The Python implementation of Protocol Buffers is not as mature as the C++ and Java implementations. It may be more buggy, and it is known to be pretty slow at this time. If you would like to help fix these issues, join the Protocol Buffers discussion list and let us know!


  1. Make sure you have Python 2.6 or newer. If in doubt, run:

    $ python -V
  2. If you do not have setuptools installed, note that it will be downloaded and installed automatically as soon as you run If you would rather install it manually, you may do so by following the instructions on this page.

  3. Build the C++ code, or install a binary distribution of protoc. If you install a binary distribution, make sure that it is the same version as this package. If in doubt, run:

    $ protoc --version
  4. Build and run the tests:

    $ python build
    $ python test

    To build, test, and use the C++ implementation, you must first compile

    $ (cd .. && make)

    On OS X:

    If you are running a Homebrew-provided Python, you must make sure another version of protobuf is not already installed, as Homebrew's Python will search /usr/local/lib for before it searches ../src/.libs.

    You can either unlink Homebrew's protobuf or install the libprotobuf you built earlier:

    $ brew unlink protobuf


    $ (cd .. && make install)

    On other *nix:

    You must make dynamically available. You can either install libprotobuf you built earlier, or set LD_LIBRARY_PATH:

    $ export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=../src/.libs


    $ (cd .. && make install)

    To build the C++ implementation run:

    $ python build --cpp_implementation

    Then run the tests like so:

    $ python test --cpp_implementation

    If some tests fail, this library may not work correctly on your system. Continue at your own risk.

    Please note that there is a known problem with some versions of Python on Cygwin which causes the tests to fail after printing the error: sem_init: Resource temporarily unavailable. This appears to be a bug either in Cygwin or in Python.

    We do not know if or when it might be fixed. We also do not know how likely it is that this bug will affect users in practice.

  5. Install:

    $ python install


    $ (cd .. && make install)
    $ python install --cpp_implementation

    This step may require superuser privileges. NOTE: To use C++ implementation, you need to export an environment variable before running your program. See the “C++ Implementation” section below for more details.


The complete documentation for Protocol Buffers is available via the web at:

C++ Implementation

The C++ implementation for Python messages is built as a Python extension to improve the overall protobuf Python performance.

To use the C++ implementation, you need to install the C++ protobuf runtime library, please see instructions in the parent directory.