Debian / Ubuntu: Fatal error: Python.h: No such file or Directory

Posted on in Categories , , last updated March 24, 2016

I am trying to install 3rd party python apps using pip command and getting the following error:

gcc -pthread -fno-strict-aliasing -fwrapv -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -fPIC -std=c99 -O3 -fomit-frame-pointer -Isrc/ -I/usr/include/python2.7 -c src/MD2.c -o build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.7/src/MD2.o

src/MD2.c:31:20: fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory

compilation terminated.

error: command 'gcc' failed with exit status 1

Where can I find Python.h file and how do I fix this problem under Debian or Ubuntu Linux sever based system?

Python.h is nothing but a header file. It is used by gcc to build applications. You need to install a package called python-dev. This package includes header files, a static library and development tools for building Python modules, extending the Python interpreter or embedding Python in applications. To install this package, enter:

For Python version 2.x+

$ sudo apt-get install python-dev
OR
# apt-get install python-dev

For Python version 3.x+

$ sudo apt-get install python3-dev
OR
# apt-get install python3-dev
Sample outputs (for my python 2.x):

Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree       
Reading state information... Done
The following extra packages will be installed:
  libexpat1-dev libssl-dev libssl-doc python2.7-dev zlib1g-dev
The following NEW packages will be installed:
  libexpat1-dev libssl-dev libssl-doc python-dev python2.7-dev zlib1g-dev
0 upgraded, 6 newly installed, 0 to remove and 2 not upgraded.
Need to get 32.5 MB of archives.
After this operation, 48.2 MB of additional disk space will be used.
Do you want to continue [Y/n]? y
Get:1 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates/main libexpat1-dev amd64 2.0.1-7.2ubuntu1.1 [216 kB]
Get:2 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise/main zlib1g-dev amd64 1:1.2.3.4.dfsg-3ubuntu4 [165 kB]
Get:3 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates/main libssl-dev amd64 1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5 [1,525 kB]
Get:4 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates/main libssl-doc all 1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5 [1,034 kB]
Get:5 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise-updates/main python2.7-dev amd64 2.7.3-0ubuntu3.1 [29.5 MB]
Get:6 http://mirrors.service.networklayer.com/ubuntu/ precise/main python-dev amd64 2.7.3-0ubuntu2 [1,088 B]
Fetched 32.5 MB in 1s (21.4 MB/s) 
Selecting previously unselected package libexpat1-dev.
(Reading database ... 55152 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking libexpat1-dev (from .../libexpat1-dev_2.0.1-7.2ubuntu1.1_amd64.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package zlib1g-dev.
Unpacking zlib1g-dev (from .../zlib1g-dev_1%3a1.2.3.4.dfsg-3ubuntu4_amd64.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libssl-dev.
Unpacking libssl-dev (from .../libssl-dev_1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5_amd64.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package libssl-doc.
Unpacking libssl-doc (from .../libssl-doc_1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5_all.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package python2.7-dev.
Unpacking python2.7-dev (from .../python2.7-dev_2.7.3-0ubuntu3.1_amd64.deb) ...
Selecting previously unselected package python-dev.
Unpacking python-dev (from .../python-dev_2.7.3-0ubuntu2_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up libexpat1-dev (2.0.1-7.2ubuntu1.1) ...
Setting up zlib1g-dev (1:1.2.3.4.dfsg-3ubuntu4) ...
Setting up libssl-dev (1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5) ...
Setting up libssl-doc (1.0.1-4ubuntu5.5) ...
Setting up python2.7-dev (2.7.3-0ubuntu3.1) ...
Setting up python-dev (2.7.3-0ubuntu2) ...

Now, you can compile or build any python based modules.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

28 comment

    1. Thanks for the tip on the python3 bit. I was running the command listed on and linux was telling me everything was up to date.

  1. I have installed python-dev but still..
    fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory
    compilation terminated.

    …:(

  2. src/main/Session.cpp:21:25: fatal error: cms/Session.h: No such file or directory
    compilation terminated.
    error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1…
    while python setup.py build

  3. gcc -pthread -fno-strict-aliasing -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O2 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -fPIC -DBOOST_PYTHON_NO_PY_SIGNATURES=1 -DPYACTIVEMQ_ENABLE_DOCSTRINGS=0 -Ipython_activemq_libs/activemq-cpp-cppVersion/include/activemq-cpp-cppVersion -I/usr/include/python2.7 -c src/main/Session.cpp -o build/temp.linux-x86_64-2.7/src/main/Session.o
    cc1plus: warning: command line option ‘-Wstrict-prototypes’ is valid for Ada/C/ObjC but not for C++ [enabled by default]
    src/main/Session.cpp:21:25: fatal error: cms/Session.h: No such file or directory
    compilation terminated.
    error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1

  4. hi i used the following code and got the result as follows
    $ gcc -c arith.c arith_wrap.c \-I/usr/local/include/python2.7
    arith_wrap.c:125:20: fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory
    compilation terminated.
    [email protected]:~/Documents/first_step_2_swig$

    i did sudo apt-get to install python 2.7 and it showed my library is updated.. the error repeats.. please give some suggestion…

  5. I want to install paramiko on redhat machine.I ran these steps.
    1. easy_install pip
    2. pip install paramiko

    It gives the following error(s).

    fatal error: Python.h: No such file or directory
    #include “Python.h”
    ^
    I tried all the alternatives given above but it didn’t work for me . Any help is appreciated.

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