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Python on iPhone actually rather good

Mini install guide for python on the iPhone:

Cydia =Install SSH helps make initial configuration easier until you
get used to MobileTerminal
Cydia =Install MobileTerminal (closest to a bash shell you get on
your iPhone currently)
Cydia =Install Finder (graphical alternative to using
SSH/MobileTerminal for setting permissions, navigating file system,
moving/copying files, etc.)
Cydia =Install Python (currently installs CPython 2.5.1)
Cydia =Install PyObjC (this is your hook into iPhone API)
Cydia =Install Setuptools (currently install 0.6c7)
Cydia =Install iPhone/Python (examples, the hello world is a PyObjC
call into the iPhone API to load and scroll the contacts list in the

Not much left to have a fast running python implementation in your
pocket except IMHO ipython. Now that you have Setuptools installed,
you can run easy_install directly on your iPhone and download iPython
over the air.

The iPhone OS X architecture is of course a BSD Unix Userland
environment so you should feel right at home.

The two accounts, root and mobile both share the same default password
'alpine'. So once you setup your phone I recommend you change the
password for each account right away just to secure your phone a
little more. Root you won't need, Mobile is what the default account
is on the current iPhone OS implementation for the standard user

Easiest way to access your phone is SSH from your Mac, Linux, or
Windows box. (or just use MobileTerminal.app on the iphone directly
keeping in mind you will default to the mobile account in the shell)
Simply join your iPhone over wifi to your wireless access point or
ad-hoc-network, and display your iPhone's ip address. Now you are
ready to ssh into it.
$ssh root@<your iphones ip address>
password: alpine
<change your password for root>
while you are here might as well install ipython
$easy_install ipython

now same for mobile
$ssh root@<your iphone ip address>
password: alpine
<change your password for mobile>

<test your ipython if it loads, yes? good. now just exit()>

$cd .ipython
$nano ipy_user_conf.py
<or vi or emac or whatever you like, its easier for beginners to try nano>

CTRL+W (find)
Where: #import ipy_editors
<Now for those who are following along using MobileTerminal.app here
is a quick guesture routine
Single Tap screen to bring up a quick tap box grid of common unix
commands that get pasted when selected into the shell
Double Tap screen to hide the onscreen keyboard and see the full screen.
Drag Top left downward diagonally to right for CTRL
Drag Top right downward diagonally to left for TAB -- good for tab
completion in the bash shell

<ok back to editing ipy_user_conf.py>
Delete the # comment character

Scroll down <MobileTerminal.app users just drag up, down, left, or
right quickly for cursor movement>

Add your new line below the text "# Or roll your own"
ipy_editors.install_editors("nano +$line $file")

CTRL+X (exit)
Y to save

Now test your ipython link to nano editor
In [1]: edit test.py
<nano should now launch and you can edit your python script on your
iPhone directly, when you save it, iPython will execute the python
In [2]: exit()
$cat test.py
<your code should display, good now we are done>
$rm test.py <remove our test file>

Its up to you where you want to save your python scripts. I would
suggest in Documents under your account (mobile).
<for example launch MobileTermina.app>
$cd ~
$cd D* <or just D and try the tab completion gesture Top right
drag diagonally down to left>
$mkdir python <or whatever you want to call your directory>
What is missing? Tkinter, iPhone uses its own API, Desktop Manager
(Springboard), etc.
What is different? PyObjC, this is where you get to use those iPhone
API calls from within your python script on the iPhone including GUI
API calls.

Now you have Python in your Pocket that you can take anywhere and whip
it out anytime the Python bug hits you and you want to work on some

You can use SSH to move/copy/sync your files to your desktop.
Or other ways: AirSharing app over wifi, etc.

I'll be giving iPhone Python 2.5.1 a workout on on of Mark Lutz's
books and report any more gotchas that I come across.

Nov 4 '08 #1
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