Some of the information here may be outdated, please check the book instead

This is how I installed iPython on a CentOS 5 machine.

Install the readline development package:

sudo yum install readline-devel

Rebuild python, building in readline capability (automatically detected during configure):

cd /usr/local/src/Python-2.5.4; ./configure; make; sudo make install

Install iPython:

sudo -E easy_install ipython

To run web2py shell with iPython:

cd /var/local/web2py
sudo -u apache -H python2.5 -S welcome -M


When iPython starts up it tries to access $HOME/.ipython/ and creates that directory and some default files in it if it doesn't already exist. I had trouble when the apache user didn't have permission to create directories in its own $HOME, /var/www. Creating an empty writable directory there doesn't suffice because ipython seems to want to create the directory and populate it itself, and gets confused by an empty .ipython directory.

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