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I'm not sure why I am having trouble installing the Python module bitarray on my Ubuntu 8.10 machine.

dan@Tower:~/py$ tar xzf bitarray-0.3.5.tar.gz
dan@Tower:~/py$ cd bitarray-0.3.5
dan@Tower:~/py/bitarray-0.3.5$ python install
running install
running build
running build_py
creating build
creating build/lib.linux-i686-2.5
creating build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray
copying bitarray/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray
copying bitarray/ -> build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray
running build_ext
building 'bitarray._bitarray' extension
creating build/temp.linux-i686-2.5
creating build/temp.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray
gcc -pthread -fno-strict-aliasing -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O2 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -fPIC -I/usr/include/python2.5 -c bitarray/_bitarray.c -o build/te
gcc -pthread -shared -Wl,-O1 -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions build/temp.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray/_bitarray.o -o build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray/
running install_lib
creating /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray
error: could not create '/usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray': Permission denied

dan@Tower:~/py/bitarray-0.3.5$ sudo python install
[sudo] password for dan: 
running install
running build
running build_py
running build_ext
running install_lib
creating /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray
copying build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray/ -> /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray
copying build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray/ -> /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray
copying build/lib.linux-i686-2.5/bitarray/ -> /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray
byte-compiling /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray/ to test_bitarray.pyc
byte-compiling /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray/ to __init__.pyc
running install_egg_info
Writing /usr/lib/python2.5/site-packages/bitarray-0.3.5.egg-info

dan@Tower:~/py/bitarray-0.3.5$ python -c 'import bitarray; bitarray.test()'
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
  File "bitarray/", line 13, in <module>
    from _bitarray import _bitarray, bits2bytes, _sysinfo
ImportError: No module named _bitarray
share|improve this question
up vote 9 down vote accepted

The module is installed correctly, but it tries to import the local version if you are in ~/py/bitarray-0.3.5. This doesn't work because you don't have in the source code tree (you would need python build_ext -i to make it work). Just go to some other directory and run python from there, it will work.

share|improve this answer
Thanks! I can't believe it was that simple. – Jarvin Oct 16 '09 at 20:15
The last thing I would have think of. – Iulius Curt Aug 30 '12 at 13:19
python3 build_ext -i resolved the same issue I had with installing into python 3.4 on ubuntu 14.04. – monkut Dec 9 '14 at 9:35

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