Getting started#

cx_Freeze is a volunteer maintained open source project and we welcome contributions of all forms. The sections below will help you get started with development, testing, and documentation. We’re pleased that you are interested in working on cx_Freeze. This document is meant to get you setup to work on cx_Freeze and to act as a guide and reference to the development setup. If you face any issues during this process, please open an issue about it on the issue tracker.


The source code can be found on Github.

You can use git to clone the repository:

git clone
cd cx_Freeze
make install

If you don’t have make installed, run:

pip install -r requirements-dev.txt
pip install -e . --no-build-isolation --no-deps
pre-commit install --install-hooks --overwrite -t pre-commit


  1. It is recommended to use a virtual environment.

  2. Please check the requirements for python and for your system (see Installation).

  3. python develop --no-deps can be used, instead of pip install -e . --no-build-isolation --no-deps.


If you are installing a pre-release or from sources, install the requirements using the conda-forge channel:

libpython-static (for python >=3.8 in linux and macOS)
py-lief (Windows)
patchelf (Linux)
# declare SDKROOT or CONDA_BUILD_SYSROOT (for python 3.9+ in macOS)
# for example, in Github Actions CI, macOS:
export SDKROOT=/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools/SDKs/MacOSX11.1.sdk

An example for Linux:

conda create -n cx39conda -c conda-forge python=3.9 libpython-static -y
conda activate cx39conda
conda install -c conda-forge c-compiler patchelf -y
pip install --upgrade --no-binary=cx_Freeze --pre cx_Freeze -v

Building documentation#

cx_Freeze’s documentation is built using Sphinx. The documentation is written in reStructuredText. To build it locally, run:

make html

The built documentation can be found in the build/doc/html folder and may be viewed by opening index.html within that folder.

make htmltest


Submitting pull requests#

Submit pull requests against the main branch, providing a good description of what you’re doing and why. You must have legal permission to distribute any code you contribute to cx_Freeze and it must be available under the PSF License. Any pull request must consider and work on the supported platforms.

Pull Requests should be small to facilitate review. Keep them self-contained, and limited in scope. Studies have shown that review quality falls off as patch size grows. Sometimes this will result in many small PRs to land a single large feature. In particular, pull requests must not be treated as “feature branches”, with ongoing development work happening within the PR. Instead, the feature should be broken up into smaller, independent parts which can be reviewed and merged individually.

Additionally, avoid including “cosmetic” changes to code that is unrelated to your change, as these make reviewing the PR more difficult. Examples include re-flowing text in comments or documentation, or addition or removal of blank lines or whitespace within lines. Such changes can be made separately, as a “formatting cleanup” PR, if needed.