platform — System Version Information

Purpose:Probe the underlying platform’s hardware, operating system, and interpreter version information.

Although Python is often used as a cross-platform language, it is occasionally necessary to know what sort of system a program is running on. Build tools need that information, but an application might also know that some of the libraries or external commands it uses have different interfaces on different operating systems. For example, a tool to manage the network configuration of an operating system can define a portable representation of network interfaces, aliases, IP addresses, etc. But when the time comes to edit the configuration files, it must know more about the host so it can use the correct operating system configuration commands and files. The platform module includes the tools for learning about the interpreter, operating system, and hardware platform where a program is running.

Note

The example output in this section was generated on three systems: a Mac mini running OS X 10.11.6, a Dell PC running Ubuntu Linux 14.04, and a VirtualBox VM running Windows 10. Python was installed on the OS X and Windows systems using the pre-compiled installers from python.org. The Linux system is running a version in a system package.

Special thanks is owed to Patrick Kettner (@patrickkettner) for helping collect the example output on Windows.

Interpreter

There are four functions for getting information about the current Python interpreter. python_version() and python_version_tuple() return different forms of the interpreter version with major, minor, and patch level components. python_compiler() reports on the compiler used to build the interpreter. And python_build() gives a version string for the build of the interpreter.

platform_python.py
import platform

print('Version      :', platform.python_version())
print('Version tuple:', platform.python_version_tuple())
print('Compiler     :', platform.python_compiler())
print('Build        :', platform.python_build())

OS X:

$ python3 platform_python.py

Version      : 3.5.2
Version tuple: ('3', '5', '2')
Compiler     : GCC 4.2.1 (Apple Inc. build 5666) (dot 3)
Build        : ('v3.5.2:4def2a2901a5', 'Jun 26 2016 10:47:25')

Linux:

$ python3 platform_python.py

Version      : 3.5.2
Version tuple: ('3', '5', '2')
Compiler     : GCC 4.8.4
Build        : ('default', 'Jul 17 2016 00:00:00')

Windows:

C:\>Desktop\platform_python.py

Version      : 3.5.1
Version tuple: ('3', '5', '1')
Compiler     : MSC v.1900 64 bit (AMD64)
Build        : ('v3.5.1:37a07cee5969', 'Dec  6 2015 01:54:25')

Platform

The platform() function returns a string containing a general purpose platform identifier. The function accepts two optional Boolean arguments. If aliased is True, the names in the return value are converted from a formal name to their more common form. When terse is true, a minimal value with some parts dropped is returned instead of the full string.

platform_platform.py
import platform

print('Normal :', platform.platform())
print('Aliased:', platform.platform(aliased=True))
print('Terse  :', platform.platform(terse=True))

OS X:

$ python3 platform_platform.py

Normal : Darwin-15.6.0-x86_64-i386-64bit
Aliased: Darwin-15.6.0-x86_64-i386-64bit
Terse  : Darwin-15.6.0

Linux:

$ python3 platform_platform.py

Normal : Linux-3.13.0-55-generic-x86_64-with-Ubuntu-14.04-trusty
Aliased: Linux-3.13.0-55-generic-x86_64-with-Ubuntu-14.04-trusty
Terse  : Linux-3.13.0-55-generic-x86_64-with-glibc2.9

Windows:

C:\>platform_platform.py

Normal : Windows-10-10.0.10240-SP0
Aliased: Windows-10-10.0.10240-SP0
Terse  : Windows-10

Operating System and Hardware Info

More detailed information about the operating system and hardware the interpreter is running under can be retrieved as well. uname() returns a tuple containing the system, node, release, version, machine, and processor values. Individual values can be accessed through functions of the same names, listed in the table below.

Platform Information Functions
Function Return Value
system() operating system name
node() host name of the server, not fully qualified
release() operating system release number
version() more detailed system version
machine() a hardware-type identifier, such as 'i386'
processor() a real identifier for the processor (the same value as machine() in many cases)
platform_os_info.py
import platform

print('uname:', platform.uname())

print()
print('system   :', platform.system())
print('node     :', platform.node())
print('release  :', platform.release())
print('version  :', platform.version())
print('machine  :', platform.machine())
print('processor:', platform.processor())

OS X:

$ python3 platform_os_info.py

uname: uname_result(system='Darwin', node='hubert.local',
release='15.6.0', version='Darwin Kernel Version 15.6.0: Thu Jun
23 18:25:34 PDT 2016; root:xnu-3248.60.10~1/RELEASE_X86_64',
machine='x86_64', processor='i386')

system   : Darwin
node     : hubert.local
release  : 15.6.0
version  : Darwin Kernel Version 15.6.0: Thu Jun 23 18:25:34 PDT
2016; root:xnu-3248.60.10~1/RELEASE_X86_64
machine  : x86_64
processor: i386

Linux:

$ python3 platform_os_info.py

uname: uname_result(system='Linux', node='apu',
release='3.13.0-55-generic', version='#94-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 18
00:27:10 UTC 2015', machine='x86_64', processor='x86_64')

system   : Linux
node     : apu
release  : 3.13.0-55-generic
version  : #94-Ubuntu SMP Thu Jun 18 00:27:10 UTC 2015
machine  : x86_64
processor: x86_64

Windows:

C:\>Desktop\platform_os_info.py

uname: uname_result(system='Windows', node='IE11WIN10',
release='10', version='10.0.10240', machine='AMD64',
processor='Intel64 Family 6 Model 70 Stepping 1, GenuineIntel')

system   : Windows
node     : IE11WIN10
release  : 10
version  : 10.0.10240
machine  : AMD64
processor: Intel64 Family 6 Model 70 Stepping 1, GenuineIntel

Executable Architecture

Individual program architecture information can be probed using the architecture() function. The first argument is the path to an executable program (defaulting to sys.executable, the Python interpreter). The return value is a tuple containing the bit architecture and the linkage format used.

platform_architecture.py
import platform

print('interpreter:', platform.architecture())
print('/bin/ls    :', platform.architecture('/bin/ls'))

OS X:

$ python3 platform_architecture.py

interpreter: ('64bit', '')
/bin/ls    : ('64bit', '')

Linux:

$ python3 platform_architecture.py

interpreter: ('64bit', 'ELF')
/bin/ls    : ('64bit', 'ELF')

Windows:

C:\>Desktop\platform_architecture.py

interpreter: ('64bit', 'WindowsPE')
/bin/ls    : ('64bit', '')