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Calling routines in Windows DLLs from Python scripts running under Linux, MacOS or BSD

Project description

Build Status: master / release Documentation Status: master / release Build Status: development branch Documentation Status: development branch Project License: LGPLv2 Project Development Status Available on PyPi - the Python Package Index Available on PyPi - the Python Package Index

zugbruecke repository


zugbruecke is an EXPERIMENTAL Python module (currently in development status 3/alpha). It allows to call routines in Windows DLLs from Python code running on Unices / Unix-like systems such as Linux, MacOS or BSD. zugbruecke is designed as a drop-in replacement for Python’s standard library’s ctypes module. zugbruecke is built on top of Wine. A stand-alone Windows Python interpreter launched in the background is used to execute the called DLL routines. Communication between the Unix-side and the Windows/Wine-side is based on Python’s build-in multiprocessing connection capability. zugbruecke has (limited) support for pointers, struct types and call-back functions. zugbruecke comes with extensive logging features allowing to debug problems associated with both itself and with Wine. zugbruecke is written using Python 3 syntax and primarily targets the CPython implementation of Python.

About Wine (from Wine (originally an acronym for “Wine Is Not an Emulator”) is a compatibility layer capable of running Windows applications on several POSIX-compliant operating systems, such as Linux, MacOS and BSD. Instead of simulating internal Windows logic like a virtual machine or emulator, Wine translates Windows API calls into POSIX calls on-the-fly, eliminating the performance and memory penalties of other methods and allowing you to cleanly integrate Windows applications into your desktop.

This project is NEITHER associated NOR affiliated in any way or form with the Wine project.


for usage
  • CPython 3.x (tested with 3.{4,5,6,7}) - no additional Python packages required
  • Wine 2.x/3.x/4.x (tested with regular & staging) - expected to be in the user’s PATH
for tests
for documentation


branch status installation documentation
master (release) Build Status: master / release pip install zugbruecke Documentation Status: master / release
develop Build Status: development branch pip install git+ Documentation Status: development branch


Start an interactive Python session on your favorite Unix(-like) operating system and try the following:

import zugbruecke as ctypes
dll_pow = ctypes.cdll.msvcrt.pow
dll_pow.argtypes = (ctypes.c_double, ctypes.c_double)
dll_pow.restype = ctypes.c_double
print('You should expect "1024.0" to show up here: "%.1f".' % dll_pow(2.0, 10.0))

You have just witnessed msvcrt.dll, Microsoft’s C standard library (or Wine’s implementation of it), in action on Unix.

Interested in more?

A lot of code, which was written with ctypescdll, windll or oledll in mind and which runs under Windows, should run just fine with zugbruecke on Unix (assuming it does not use Windows features not supported by Wine). For more complex calls, memory synchronization is potentially necessary.


zugbruecke performs reasonably well given its complexity with less than 0.2 µs overhead per call in average on modern hardware. It is not (yet) optimized for speed. Check the latest benchmarks for more details.


zugbruecke is notoriously insecure. Never, ever, run it with root / super users privileges! Do not use it where security matters! For details, check the section on security in the documentation.

Need help?

Feel free to post questions in the GitHub issue tracker of this project.

Bugs & issues

Make sure you have read the chapter on bugs in zugbruecke’s documentation.


For production environments

DO NOT run this code (as-is) in production environments unless you feel that you really know what you are doing or unless you are absolutely desperate! Being experimental in nature and of alpha quality, it is prone to fail in a number of unpredictable ways, some of which might not be obvious or might not even show any (intermediately) recognizable symptoms at all! You might end up with plain wrong, nonsensical results without noticing it!

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