I have recently been doing some python development that uses the psycopg2 driver for PostgreSQL. On Linux, this worked wonderfully, and everything was installed using the regular easy_install method with no troubles. However on OS X it wasn’t quite so easy.

First I tried using easy_install but it failed with a long list of gcc warnings and errors. Looking near the beginning of the errors I saw:
Warning: /bin/sh: pg_config: command not found followed by
./psycopg/connection.h:27:22: error: libpq-fe.h: No such file or directory Well this makes sense as I’m using PostgreSQL Plus for OS X, and it doesn’t put it’s header files or libraries in a standard place. There is an easy workaround though.

Thanks to Luke Tucker who provided this easy solution: PATH=$PATH:/Library/PostgresPlus/8.3/bin/ sudo easy_install psycopg2

Original Method

This is left here for historical purposes. I recommend using the above command instead.
We’ll need to download the psycopg2 package and install it manually. Don’t worry, this is very easy and doesn’t require much work at all.

  1. Open you favorite terminal application.
  2. Download the package. Extract the package, enter the directory.
    curl -o psycopg2.tar.gz http://www.initd.org/pub/software/psycopg/psycopg2-latest.tar.gz
    tar xzf psycopg2.tar.gz
    cd psycopg2-${version}
  3. Edit the setup configuration file. Use whatever editor you’re comfortable with.
    vim setup.cfg
  4. Uncomment the include_dirs line and change it to read:
  5. Uncomment the library_dirs line and change it to read:
  6. Save and quit your editor.
  7. Finally, build and install the package.
    sudo python setup.py install

And now you should have a working PostgreSQL driver for Python. This was very useful for me since I like to use SQLAlchemy for my database work in Python and it uses psycopg2.


As a alternative method, you can replace steps 4 and 5 above with:

  • Uncomment pg_config line and change it to read:

Thanks, pacopablo!