Installing python-ldap in virtualenv on Ubuntu

We’re authenticating against Active Directory in our current Python/Django project and though we’ve had excellent luck with python-ldap in general, I ran into issues when trying to install python-ldap in a virtualenv this afternoon. As always a lot of DuckDuckGoing and a minimal amount of headbanging led to a solution.

The error I was getting after activating the virtualenv and running pip install python-ldap was related to gcc missing, which was misleading since that wasn’t actually the issue:

error: Setup script exited with error: command ‘gcc’ failed with exit status 1

To add to the weirdness, when I installed python-ldap outside the context of a virtualenv, everything worked fine.
I’ll save you the blow-by-blow and just tell you that on my machine at least, other than the required OpenLDAP installation and some other libraries, I also had to install libsasl2-dev:

sudo apt-get install libsasl2-dev

Once I had that installed, I could activate my virtualenv, run pip install python-ldap and install without errors.
If you still run into issues make sure (in addition to OpenLDAP) to have these packages installed:
  • python-dev
  • libldap2-dev
  • libssl-dev
Hope that saves someone else some time!

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