Installing RDFLIB on Windows, and Making it Work with PyDev

I had a few troubles installing RDFLIB, the Python RDF library, on my Windows Vista laptop, and getting everything to work with PyDev in Eclipse.

I have Python 2.5 installed from the MSI. When I ran python install from the RDFLIB download directory, I got the message:

error: Python was built with Visual Studio 2003;
extensions must be built with a compiler than can generate compatible binaries.
Visual Studio 2003 was not found on this system. If you have Cygwin installled,
you can try compiling with MingW32, by passing "-c mingw32" to

I have Cygwin installed, so I installed Cygwin’s Python 2.5, then used that to run python install, which worked fine.

However, when I tried to use “Run As … Python unit-test” from within Eclipse (with PyDev installed), it didn’t work. Apparently, there are compatibility problems between PyDev and Cygwin, mostly related to windows path names.

So I went back to trying to install RDFLIB using the Windows Python. I could run python build -c mingw32 (with gcc-mingw32 installed and cygwin’s binaries directory on my path), but I still couldn’t run python install because the ‘install’ command doesn’t accept the ‘-c’ argument.

Eventually, I made it work by creating a cfg file for distutils (distutils.cfg) eg: /c/Python2x/Lib/distutils/distutils.cfg containing:


as described here at the end of the page, under “One Last Step”.

I.e. once I had created the cfg file, and the cygwin binaries were on my path, I could run python install using the Windows Python, which also works with PyDev in Eclipse.