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An Introduction to Python
by Guido van Rossum and Fred L. Drake, Jr.
Paperback (6"x9"), 124 pages
ISBN 0954161769
RRP £12.95 ($19.95)

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10.1 Operating System Interface

The ‘os’ module provides dozens of functions for interacting with the operating system:

    >>> import os
    >>> os.system('time 0:02')
    0
    >>> os.getcwd() # Return the current working directory
    'C:\\Python25'
    >>> os.chdir('/server/accesslogs')

Be sure to use the ‘import os’ style instead of ‘from os import *’. This will keep os.open() from shadowing the builtin open() function which operates much differently.

The builtin dir() and help() functions are useful as interactive aids for working with large modules like ‘os’:

    >>> import os
    >>> dir(os)
    <returns a list of all module functions>
    >>> help(os)
    <returns an extensive manual page created from the
     module's docstrings>

For daily file and directory management tasks, the ‘shutil’ module provides a higher level interface that is easier to use:

    >>> import shutil
    >>> shutil.copyfile('data.db', 'archive.db')
    >>> shutil.move('/build/executables', 'installdir')
ISBN 0954161769An Introduction to PythonSee the print edition