Install cx_Oracle on mac osx El Capitan (10.11.5)

I struggled quite a bit to make cx_Oracle work for my Python installation.

I checked various resources online and everything was quite messy. So I decided to contribute by adding some more mess around. In order to make it work you need:

  • Pyhton
  • Oracle Instant Client

It seems easy but actually making it work Oracle Instant Client on mac is a little bit tricky. Let’s start from the beginning:

This is the version of Python I am using:

christian.sisti@cisco: python --version 
Python 2.7.10

1. Get Oracle Instant Client

Go here and download the most recent version of the client. For me it was:


(You can also try with the 32bit version, but this did work for me.)

I placed the files under:


Then you have to unzip the them and copy the sdk into the correct folder:

christian.sisti@cisco: cd /Applications/cx_Oracle
christian.sisti@cisco: unzip
christian.sisti@cisco: unzip

Note that the unzip command should already copy the sdk folder of the sdk package on the instaclient basic folder. If that doesn’t work for you, you have to do it manually.

2. Setup ENV variables

These are the environment variables I’ve added to my bash profile. Remember to restart the terminal in order to make it pick them up.

christian.sisti@cisco: emacs ~/.bash_profile

# Oracle Client for Python: cx_Oracle
export ORACLE_HOME='/Applications/cx_Oracle/instantclient_12_1'

3. Setup symlinks

There is a couple of symlink that need to be configured:

ln -s "$ORACLE_HOME"/libclntsh.dylib.* "$ORACLE_HOME"/libclntsh.dylib
ln -s "$ORACLE_HOME"/libocci.dylib.* "$ORACLE_HOME"/libocci.dylib

4. Install cx_Oracle

christian.sisti@cisco: sudo pip install cx_Oracle==5.2.1

5. Test installation

If everything was find then the following command should’t return any output:

christian.sisti@cisco: python -c "import cx_Oracle"


 If the above command does not work you may have to fix the rpath. Just execute:
install_name_tool -add_rpath $ORACLE_HOME ~/.python-eggs/cx_Oracle-5.2.1-py2.7-macosx-10.11-intel.egg-tmp/