How do I get cx_Oracle to work on 64-bit Itanium Windows?

I'm running Windows Server 2003 on a 64-bit Itanium server which is also running 64-bit Oracle 10.2, and I'd like to install cx_Oracle for Python 2.5. I've used cx_Oracle before many times on both Windows and Linux, and I've also compiled it before on 32 bit versions of those platforms, but I've never tried an IA64 compile.

None of the binary builds of cx_Oracle at are 64 bit, and I get an error after installing any of them when trying to run import cx_Oracle so I figure the thing to do is to compile it from source.

When running python build then I get the error that Python was built with Visual Studio 2003 and that I need something which can produce compatible binaries. I have Visual Studio 2005, which apparently doesn't fit the bill due to linking against a different version of the C standard library, and probably for other reasons as well. Unfortunately, Visual Studio 2003 is no longer available for download, and I'm not sure where to get it.

So I download MinGW from but this is also only available in 32 bit form. I go ahead and give it a try anyway, but it gives me an error during compilation about one of the Oracle DLLs I'm linking against having an invalid file format.

At this point I've got a lot of options, and I'm not sure where to place my efforts:

  1. I could download the 64 bit MinGW from and try using that, except that it only seems to be available as source, so I'd have to compile the compiler, probably using Visual Studio 2005.

  2. I could try using an x86 32 bit build of Python and then download the Oracle Instant Client SDK from and then use that to build cx_Oracle. I'd probably have to set my ORACLE_HOME to the client so that it didn't try linking against the 64 bit server DLLs, but this seems like it might work.

  3. I could try compiling Python itself from source, using Visual Studio 2005, so that I could then use Visual Studio 2005 to build cx_Oracle and not worry about binary compatibility issues. I've compiled Python from source many times on Linux and never had any problems, so I'd like to believe that it's just as simple on Windows.

  4. I could try to figure out how to make Visual Studio 2005 link against the right DLLs and thus produce compatible binaries in that manner without needing Visual Studio 2003. Intuitively it seems like Visual Studio should be able to produce compatible binaries with older versions of itself, but almost all of my compiler experience is with gcc so I don't really know.

I'm just really not sure where to direct my efforts. Does anyone have any suggestions about where to go next? I can copy/paste some of the specific error messages I've gotten if that would be helpful.

I'd especially love to hear from anyone who's ever gotten cx_Oracle to work on a 64 bit Itanium version of Windows - I can't be the first to try this.


I ended up going with Option #2: I downloaded the 32-bit Oracle Instant Client, then compiled cx_Oracle for 32-bit Python with the instant client. So everything involved is 32-bit, and I'm just not using any IA64-bit executables, and this works just fine.

If I had an IA64 compiler, I'd try Option #3, but it turns out that Visual Studio Pro doesn't support the IA64 platform, and we'd need to spend a lot of money to upgrade to whatever's higher than Pro.

I read this yesterday and am not suprised to see that nobody has answered. It is a very specific and complex question. While I do not have direct experience with many of the tools you are dealing with I have delt with the issues surrounding incompatabilities with different compilers and binaries. For what its worth 3. sounds like your best bet.

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