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Python pcap extension

Project description

This file is an extract from the the online documentation at

What is Pcapy?

Pcapy is a Python extension module that enables software written in Python to access the routines from the pcap packet capture library.

From libpcap’s documentation: “Libpcap is a system-independent interface for user-level packet capture. Libpcap provides a portable framework for low-level network monitoring. Applications include network statistics collection, security monitoring, network debugging, etc.”

What makes pcapy different from the others?

  • works with Python threads.

  • works both in UNIX with libpcap and Windows with WinPcap.

  • provides a simpler Object Oriented API.

Getting Pcapy

Current and past releases are available from


Quick start

Grab the latest stable release, unpack it and run ‘python install’ from the directory where you placed it. Isn’t that easy?


  • A Python interpreter. Versions 2.1.3 and newer are known to work.

  • A C++ compiler. GCC G++ 2.95, as well as Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0, are known to work.

  • Libpcap 0.7.2 or newer. Windows user are best to check WinPcap 3.0 or newer.

  • A recent release of Pcapy.

Compiling the source and installing

As this extension is written in C++ it needs to be compiled for the host system before it can be accessed from Python. Fortunately this process has been made easy by the script. In order to compile and install the source execute the following command from the directory where the pcapy’s distribution has been unpacked: ‘python install’. This will install the extension into the default Python’s modules path; note that you might need special permissions to write there. For more information on what commands and options are available from, run ‘python –help-commands’.

This extension has been tested under Linux and Windows systems and is known to work there, but it ought to work out-of-the-box on any system where Python and libpcap are available.


This software is provided under under a slightly modified version of the Apache Software License. See the accompanying LICENSE file for more information.

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pcapy-0.11.4.tar.gz (37.0 kB view hashes)

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