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Pydoop Script User Guide

Get Pydoop


Pydoop is developed by: CRS4

And generously hosted by: Get Pydoop at Fast, secure and Free Open Source software downloads


Supported Platforms

Pydoop has been tested on Gentoo, Ubuntu and CentOS. Although we currently have no information regarding other Linux distributions, we expect Pydoop to work (possibly with some tweaking) on them as well.

We also have a walkthrough for compiling and installing on Apple OS X Mountain Lion.

Other platforms are not supported.

Get Pydoop

Source Distribution

We recommend downloading the latest release from

You can also get the latest code from the Git repository:

git clone

We also upload our releases to PyPI. After configuring your environment (see below), you should be able to automatically download and install Pydoop from PyPI using pip:

pip install pydoop

Debian/Ubuntu Package

Download the latest .deb package from


In order to build and install Pydoop, you need the following software:

  • Python version 2.7 (or 2.6 with backports [1])
  • either of the following:
    • Apache Hadoop version 0.20.2, 1.0.4, 1.1.2, 1.2.1 or 2.2.0
    • CDH version 3u4, 3u5, 4.2.0 or 4.3.0, with the following limitations:
      • currently, only mrv1 is supported
      • CDH4 must be installed from dist-specific packages (no tarball)
  • Boost version 1.40 or later (only the Python library)
  • OpenSSL (not required with Hadoop 0.20.2)

These are also runtime requirements for all cluster nodes. Note that installing Pydoop and your MapReduce application to all cluster nodes (or to an NFS share) is not required: see Installation-free Usage for a complete HowTo.

Other versions of Hadoop may or may not work depending on how different they are from the ones listed above.



On Ubuntu you should install the .deb package (see the Get Pydoop section) corresponding to the CDH version you are running (if you are using Apache Hadoop, try building Pydoop from source instead). Our .deb packages have been tested on 64-bit Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) with the following prerequisites installed:

  • Python 2.7, with python-support
  • Boost.Python 1.46.1
  • CDH
  • Oracle JDK 6

If the above prerequisites are satisfied, you should be able to install Pydoop by doing:

sudo dpkg -i <PATH_TO_PYDOOP_DEB_PKG>

The following is a complete walkthrough for CDH4 that merges all of the above instructions (tested on an empty box):

# install canonical dependencies
sudo apt-get install libboost-python1.46.1 python-support
# remove openjdk if necessary
sudo apt-get purge openjdk*
# add repositories for CDH4 and Oracle Java
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb [arch=amd64] precise-cdh4 contrib' > /etc/apt/sources.list.d/cloudera.list"
sudo sh -c "echo 'deb-src precise-cdh4 contrib' >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/cloudera.list"
sudo apt-get install curl
curl -s | sudo apt-key add -
sudo apt-get install python-software-properties
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:eugenesan/java
sudo apt-get update
# install Oracle Java and CDH4 with mrv1
sudo apt-get install oracle-java6-installer
cd /usr/lib/jvm && sudo ln -s java-6-oracle java-6-sun
sudo apt-get install hadoop-0.20-conf-pseudo hadoop-client
# install Pydoop
sudo dpkg -i <PATH_TO_PYDOOP_DEB_PKG>

Installation from Source

Before compiling and installing Pydoop, install all missing dependencies.

On Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get install build-essential python-all-dev libboost-python-dev libssl-dev

On Gentoo:

echo 'dev-libs/boost python' >> /etc/portage/package.use
emerge boost openssl

If you’re using Boost version 1.48 or newer, you may need to specify the name of your Boost.Python library in order to build Pydoop. This is done via the BOOST_PYTHON environment variable. For instance:

export BOOST_PYTHON=boost_python-2.7

Set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to your JDK installation directory, e.g.:

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/local/java/jdk


If you don’t know where your Java home is, try finding the actual path of the java executable and stripping the trailing /jre/bin/java:

$ readlink -f $(which java)
$ export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-6-oracle

If you have installed Hadoop from a tarball, set the HADOOP_HOME environment variable so that it points to where the tarball was extracted, e.g.:

export HADOOP_HOME=/opt/hadoop-1.0.4

The above step is not necessary if you installed CDH from dist-specific packages. Build Pydoop with the following commands:

tar xzf pydoop-*.tar.gz
cd pydoop-*
python build

For a system-wide installation, run the following:

sudo python install --skip-build

For a user-local installation:

python install --skip-build --user

The latter installs Pydoop in ~/.local/lib/python2.X/site-packages. This may be a particularly handy solution if your home directory is accessible on the entire cluster.

To install to an arbitrary path:

python install --skip-build --home <PATH>

Installation on Apple OS X Mountain Lion

To build Pydoop on OS X you need the following prerequisites:

Install Boost:

brew install boost --build-from-source

See the common issues section of the Homebrew docs for more info on why we need the --build-from-source switch.

Install Hadoop:

brew install hadoop

You may follow this guide for Hadoop installation and configuration.

Set JAVA_HOME according to your JDK installation, e.g.:

export JAVA_HOME=/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.7.0_17.jdk/Contents/Home

To install Pydoop via Homebrew:

brew tap samueljohn/python
brew install pydoop

To compile and install from source, follow the instructions in the previous section, configuring the environment as follows:

export HADOOP_HOME=/usr/local/Cellar/hadoop/1.1.2/libexec
export BOOST_PYTHON=boost_python-mt

Multiple Hadoop Versions


The following instructions apply to installations from tarballs. Running a package-based Hadoop installation together with a “from-tarball” one is neither advised not supported.

If you’d like to use your Pydoop installation with multiple versions of Hadoop, you will need to rebuild the modules for each version of Hadoop.

After building Pydoop for the first time following the instructions above, modify your HADOOP-related environment variables to point to the other version of Hadoop to be supported. Then repeat the build and installation commands again.


tar xzf pydoop-*.tar.gz
cd pydoop-*

export HADOOP_HOME=/opt/hadoop-0.20.2
python install --user

python clean --all

export HADOOP_HOME=/opt/hadoop-1.0.4
python install --user

At run time, the appropriate version of the Pydoop modules will be loaded for the version of Hadoop selected by your HADOOP_HOME variable. If Pydoop is not able to retrieve your Hadoop home directory from the environment or by looking into standard paths, it falls back to a default location that is hardwired at compile time: the setup script looks for a file named DEFAULT_HADOOP_HOME in the current working directory; if the file does not exist, it is created and filled with the path to the current Hadoop home.


  1. “java home not found” error, with JAVA_HOME properly exported: try setting JAVA_HOME in

  2. “ not found” error: try the following:

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="${JAVA_HOME}/jre/lib/amd64/server:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"
  3. non-standard include/lib directories: the setup script looks for includes and libraries in standard places – read for details. If some of the requirements are stored in different locations, you need to add them to the search path. Example:

    python build_ext -L/my/lib/path -I/my/include/path -R/my/lib/path
    python build
    python install --skip-build

    Alternatively, you can write a small setup.cfg file for distutils:


    and then run python install.

    Finally, you can achieve the same result by manipulating the environment. This is particularly useful in the case of automatic download and install with pip:

    export CPATH="/my/include/path:${CPATH}"
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH="/my/lib/path:${LD_LIBRARY_PATH}"
    pip install pydoop
  4. Hadoop version issues. The Hadoop version selected at compile time is automatically detected based on the output of running hadoop version. If this fails for any reason, you can provide the correct version string through the HADOOP_VERSION environment variable, e.g.:

    export HADOOP_VERSION="1.0.4"

Testing your Installation

After Pydoop has been successfully installed, you might want to run unit tests to verify that everything works fine.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: in order to run HDFS tests you must:

  1. make sure that Pydoop is able to detect your Hadoop home and configuration directories. If auto-detection fails, try setting the HADOOP_HOME and HADOOP_CONF_DIR environment variables to the appropriate locations;

  2. since one of the test cases tests the connection to an HDFS instance with explicitly set host and port, if in your case these are different from, respectively, “localhost” and 9000 (8020 for package-based CDH), you must set the HDFS_HOST and HDFS_PORT environment variables accordingly;

  3. start HDFS:

  4. wait until HDFS exits from safe mode:

    ${HADOOP_HOME}/bin/hadoop dfsadmin -safemode wait

To run the unit tests, move to the test subdirectory and run as the cluster superuser (see below):


Superuser Privileges

The following HDFS tests may fail if not run by the cluster superuser: capacity, chown and used. To get superuser privileges, you can either:

  • start the cluster with your own user account;
  • edit hdfs-site.xml in your configuration and set the dfs.permissions.supergroup property to one of your unix groups (type groups at the command prompt to see to which groups your account belongs), then restart the Hadoop daemons:

If you can’t acquire superuser privileges to run the tests, just keep in mind that the failures reported may be due to this reason.

Hadoop 2.2.0

In Hadoop 2.2.0 it is necessary to edit hdfs-site.xml and set dfs.namenode.fs-limits.min-block-size to a low value:


then restart Hadoop daemons.


[1]To make Pydoop work with Python 2.6 you need to install the following additional modules: importlib and argparse.