I wanted to try out the newly-released 2.6 version of our beloved Python, but unfortunately Debian didn't have a package for it yet (and it still doesn't). I wasn't too afraid of screwing up my laptop, as it's probably going to be formatted very soon anyway, and I didn't want to mess around with deb build scripts, so this is what I've done:
- got the official source distribution, untarred and cd in the resulting dir Python2.6
- got some additional packages: apt-get install tk8.4-dev libgdbm-dev libdb-dev libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev libncurses5-dev (and possibly a few others)
- ./configure --prefix=/usr --enable-ipv6
- checkinstall -D --pkgname=python2.6 --pkgversion=2.6 --firstname.lastname@example.org --inspect --backup=yes --install=no make altinstall
This command allowed me to review the package contents and remove what I didn't need, which is basically everything outside the "python2.6" directories and which might already exist on my system (so I didn't want to overwrite it).
I took out the lines /usr/bin/pydoc, /usr/bin/idle and /usr/share/man/man1/python.1
UPDATE: when checkinstall asks if you want to create a default set of docs, say "yes", or you might get an error about ranlib further down (see comments).
- installed the produced .deb package
- copied back pydoc and idle (from the build directory) and /usr/share/man/man1/python.1 (from the Misc directory), all with "2.6" appended. I then set up alternatives with update-alternatives --install symlink name alternative priority (mainly in order to "redebianize" my impure karma); UPDATE: well, using alternatives (a 100% Debian solution which works perfectly well for loads of other multi-version script engines) will break your system, because some developers absolutely must reinvent the wheel every 5 minutes and then proudly announce that bugs won't be fixed. The stupidity of it all is staggering.
First impressions: 2.6 seems fast as hell. I don't know if this is due to the custom compilation though, rather than improvements in the runtime.