Building a specific version of SQLite with pysqlite on macOS/Linux

I wanted the ability to test my Python software against specific version of SQLite on macOS. I found a way to do that using pysqlite3.

First, clone the GitHub mirror of SQLite (so I don't have to learn how to use Fossil):

cd /tmp
git clone

Check out the version tag you want to try:

cd /tmp/sqlite
git checkout version-3.17.0

The SQLite build docs suggest using a bld directory like this:

mkdir /tmp/bld
cd /tmp/bld
make sqlite3.c

This will have constructed the amalgamation source needed by pysqlite3.

Now build that:

cd /tmp
git clone
cd pysqlite3
cp /tmp/bld/sqlite3.c .
cp /tmp/bld/sqlite3.h .
python3 build_static build

The end result sits in a pysqlite3 folder in, on my machine, /tmp/pysqlite3/build/lib.macosx-10.15-x86_64-3.9 - test it like this:

cd /tmp/pysqlite3/build/lib.macosx-10.15-x86_64-3.9
Python 3.9.6 (default, Jun 29 2021, 06:20:32) 
[Clang 12.0.0 (clang-1200.0.32.29)] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pysqlite3
>>> pysqlite3.connect(":memory:").execute("select sqlite_version()").fetchone()[0]

Turn that into a wheel

Running the following produces a wheel for the current platform that bundles the compiled .so file:

python3 bdist_wheel

On my machine that created /tmp/pysqlite3/dist/pysqlite3-0.4.6-cp39-cp39-macosx_10_15_x86_64.whl.

Having created that file, running this in any virtual enviroment installed my custom build of pysqlite3 with the correct SQLite version:

pip install /tmp/pysqlite3/dist/pysqlite3-0.4.6-cp39-cp39-macosx_10_15_x86_64.whl

This exact same process works on Linux too (tested inside a default GitHub Actions Linux worker).

Created 2021-08-14T14:29:40-07:00, updated 2021-08-15T11:34:42-07:00 · History · Edit