How do I determine if my python shell is executing in 32bit or 64bit mode on OS X?

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I need a way to tell what mode the shell is in from within the shell.

I've tried looking at the platform module but it seems only to tell you about "about the bit architecture and the linkage format used for the executable": the binary is compiled as 64bit though (I'm running on OS X 10.6) so it seems to always report 64bit even though I'm using the methods described hereto force 32bit mode).

Dec 11, 2018 in Python by charlie_brown
• 7,720 points
85 views

1 answer to this question.

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UPDATED: One way is to look at sys.maxsize as documented here:

$ python-32 -c 'import sys;print("%x" % sys.maxsize, sys.maxsize > 2**32)'
('7fffffff', False)
$ python-64 -c 'import sys;print("%x" % sys.maxsize, sys.maxsize > 2**32)'
('7fffffffffffffff', True)

sys.maxsize was introduced in Python 2.6. If you need a test for older systems, this slightly more complicated test should work on all Python 2 and 3 releases:

$ python-32 -c 'import struct;print( 8 * struct.calcsize("P"))'
32
$ python-64 -c 'import struct;print( 8 * struct.calcsize("P"))'
64

BTW, you might be tempted to use platform.architecture() for this. Unfortunately, its results are not always reliable, particularly in the case of OS X universal binaries.

$ arch -x86_64 /usr/bin/python2.6 -c 'import sys,platform; print platform.architecture()[0], sys.maxsize > 2**32'
64bit True
$ arch -i386 /usr/bin/python2.6 -c 'import sys,platform; print platform.architecture()[0], sys.maxsize > 2**32'
64bit False
answered Dec 11, 2018 by ariaholic
• 7,340 points

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