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download and install descartes:

system requirements

descartes is written in the Python programming language. This makes descartes independent of the operating systems: it works under Linux as well as under MacOS and Microsoft Windows. Its wxPython graphical user interface makes descartes look and feel like a native application.

To run descartes, you need to install the following free software on your computer:

  • an Python interpreter,
  • the graphical user interface module wxPython,
  • the mathematics module SciPy.
They are available:
  • as binary packages from the above links,
  • for MS Windows: the Enthought Python distribution is highly recommended since it comes with wxPython and SciPy included,
  • for Linux: Python, wxPython and SciPy packages are part of any major Linux distribution.


  • descartes is currently being developed under Python 2.3. However, there is no reason why it shouldn't work as well with Python 2.2 or 2.4.

download descartes

To download the latest release, follow this Normal, this link should bring you to a sourceforge mirror selection list. Follow the instructions given there.

The above link, however, is reportedly blocked by some provider's proxy configuration. In this case, go to the project page at Scroll down to the Latest File Releases section and follow the Download link. The link Download brings you once again to a sourceforge mirror selection list.

installing and running descartes

Just create a new directory (MS Windows: folder) named descartes, and unpack the zip archive into this directory.

MS Windows: open the application with a python interpreter (e.g. wpython of the Enthought distribution).

Linux: if installing descartes as root, it is recommended to unpack to /usr/local/src/descartes; make the script executable (chmod u+x); if necessary, adapt the first line to the location of your Python binary; create a symbolic link from /usr/local/bin/descartes to /usr/local/src/descartes/ (but opening the startup image does not yet work when launching descartes from outside the source directory).

in case of trouble

Please write to the mailing list if you have questions that are not answered here.

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