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create standalone executables from python scripts

Project description


bbfreeze creates standalone executables from python scripts. It’s similar in purpose to the well known py2exe for windows, py2app for OS X, PyInstaller and cx_Freeze (in fact ancient versions were based on cx_Freeze. And it uses the modulegraph package, which is also used by py2app).

It has the following features:

easy installation

bbfreeze can be installed with setuptools’ easy_install command.

zip/egg file import tracking

bbfreeze tracks imports from zip files and includes whole egg files if some module is used from an eggfile. Packages using setuputils’ pkg_resources module will now work (new in 0.95.0)

binary dependency tracking

bbfreeze will track binary dependencies and will include DLLs and shared libraries needed by a frozen program.

multiple script freezing

bbfreeze can freeze multiple scripts at once.

python interpreter included

bbfreeze will create an extra executable named ‘py’, which might be used like the python executable itself.

NEW automatic pathname rewriting

pathnames in tracebacks are replaced with relative pathnames (i.e. if you import package from /home/jdoe/pylib/ tracebacks generated from functions in will not show your local path /home/jdoe/pylib/foo/ They will instead show foo/

bbfreeze works on windows and UNIX-like operating systems. It currently does not work on OS X. bbfreeze has been tested with python 2.4 and 2.5. bbfreeze will not work with python versions prior to 2.3 as it uses the zipimport feature introduced with python 2.3.

Contact Information

bbfreeze has been developed by brainbot technologies AG. Questions and suggestions should be send to


Windows Eggs and the source code can be downloaded from carries a mercurial repository of the in-development version.


You need to have setuptools/easy_install installed. Installation should be as easy as typing:

$ easy_install bbfreeze

This should download bbfreeze and it’s dependencies modulegraph and altgraph and install them.


  • bbfreeze does not work on OS X

  • documentation

bb-freeze - command line tool

bbfreeze provides a command line utility called bb-freeze, which freezes all python scripts given on the command line into the directory dist, which then contains for each script an executable and all dependencies needed by those executables.

Example Usage:

$ cat
#! /usr/bin/env python

import sys
import email

print unicode("hello", "utf8"), unicode("world!", "ascii")

print "sys.path:", sys.path
print "__file__:", __file__
print "__name__:", __name__

print "locals():", locals()

print "sys.argv", sys.argv
print "sys.executable:", sys.executable
$ bb-freeze
*** applied <function recipe_email at 0xb7ba702c>
$ dist/hello-world
hello world!
$ dist/py
Python 2.5.1c1 (r251c1:54692, Apr 11 2007, 01:40:50)
[GCC 4.1.2 20061115 (prerelease) (Debian 4.1.1-21)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import email

bbfreeze - API

The preferred way to use bbfreeze is by writing short python scripts, which use bbfreeze’s API. Let’s start with a short example:

from bbfreeze import Freezer
f = Freezer("hello-world-1.0", includes=("_strptime",))
f()    # starts the freezing process

bbfreeze.Freezer(distdir=”dist”, includes=(), excludes=()) instantiates a Freezer object. It will create the frozen executables and dependencies inside the distdir directory. includes is a list or tuple of modules to include, excludes is a list or tuple of modules to exclude. Note that the freezer will delete the directory distdir before freezing!

bbfreeze.Freezer objects have the following members:

  • use_compression: flag whether to use compression inside the created zipfile (default True).

  • include_py: flag whether to create the included python interpreter py (default True)

  • addScript(path, gui_only=False): register a python script for freezing. path must be the path to a python script. The freezer will scan the file for dependencies and will create an executable with the same name in distdir. The gui_only flag only has a meaning on windows: If set, the executable created for this script will not open a console window.


Recipes provide a way to control the freezing process. Have a look at bbfreeze/ if you need to implement your own. Note that the API might change.


2007-12-6 release 0.95.4

  • workaround for virtualenv

  • show execution time in py

2007-10-16 release 0.95.3

  • recipes for pythoncom/pywintypes have been added

  • make sys.getfilesystemencoding() work like in non-frozen versions

  • automatic pathname rewriting

  • make stdin, stdout and stderr unbuffered in frozen programs

2007-7-12 release 0.95.2

  • fix issues with c modules with suffix ‘’, e.g.,, … (fedora core 7 uses that naming scheme; thanks to Neil Becker for reporting) The frozen executable did bail out with zipimport.ZipImportError: can’t decompress data; zlib not available”.

2007-7-11 release 0.95.1

  • compile .py files from eggs when there is no accompanying .pyc file

  • skip egg/zip files in find_all_packages (makes some recipes work)

2007-7-6 release 0.95.0

  • support for egg files: bbfreeze scans zipped egg files and now includes whole egg files/directories in the distribution. Programs using setuptools’ pkg_resources module will now work (thanks to Eirik Svendsen for testing this).

2007-6-28 release 0.94.1

  • fix bug in setup script, now the patched modulegraph is really used

  • better recipe handling

2007-6-22 release 0.94.0

  • support relative imports (backported from modulefinder, bbfreeze now ships with its’ own patched copy of modulegraph).

  • fix xml/_xmlplus issues

  • add recipe for cElementTree

2007-5-31 release 0.93.2

  • include tcl/tk runtime files (really makes Tkinter work)

  • exclude gtk, pango and friends (i.e. they must be installed on the target system)

2007-5-14 release 0.93.1

  • make py executable work when readline is not installed

  • fix dll search path issue (makes Tkinter work)

2007-5-3 release 0.93.0

  • dependency on should now always be recognized

  • support for namespace packages

  • basic support for zipfiles/eggs (bbfreeze will scan zipfiles/eggs for dependencies and will implement a dummy pkg_resources.require in frozen executables). Note that the remaining pkg_resources functionality just isn’t available.

  • documentation updates

2007-4-27 release 0.92.0

  • better binary dependency cache handling

  • fix recipe for time module on windows

  • use pefile module on windows for binary dependency tracking

  • add gui_only flag to addScript method (which builds GUI programs on windows, i.e. without console)

  • strip shared libraries on non windows platforms

  • add showxref method

  • working recipe for py.magic.greenlet

2007-4-24 Initial release 0.91.0


bbfreeze contains a modified copy of modulegraph, which is distributed under the MIT license and is copyrighted by Bop Ippolito.

The remaining part is distributed under the zlib/libpng license:

Copyright (c) 2007 brainbot technologies AG

This software is provided ‘as-is’, without any express or implied warranty. In no event will the authors be held liable for any damages arising from the use of this software.

Permission is granted to anyone to use this software for any purpose, including commercial applications, and to alter it and redistribute it freely, subject to the following restrictions:

  1. The origin of this software must not be misrepresented; you must not claim that you wrote the original software. If you use this software in a product, an acknowledgment in the product documentation would be appreciated but is not required.

  2. Altered source versions must be plainly marked as such, and must not be misrepresented as being the original software.

  3. This notice may not be removed or altered from any source distribution.

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