You can install the Hawkmoth Python package and most of its dependencies from PyPI with:

pip install hawkmoth

However, you’ll also need to install Clang and Clang Python Bindings through your distro’s package manager; they are not available via PyPI. This is typically the biggest hurdle in getting your Hawkmoth setup to work.

Clang Distro Install

This step is necessarily distro specific.

For example, in recent Debian and Ubuntu:

apt install python3-clang

Clang Python Bindings

There are unofficial Clang Python Bindings available in PyPI. They may be helpful in some scenarios, but they will not include the binary libclang, and the provided Python Bindings might not be compatible with the library provided in your system. It’s recommended to use the bindings from the distro, but if you need to install the clang package from PyPI, it’s recommended to use the same major varsion for both system libclang and Python clang.

If the Clang Python Bindings are unable to find libclang, for whatever reason, there are some tricks to try:

  • Set the library path in shell:

    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$(llvm-config --libdir)
  • Set the library path in

    from clang.cindex import Config
  • Set the library name in, possibly combined with LD_LIBRARY_PATH:

    from clang.cindex import Config
  • Set the library name with full path in

    from clang.cindex import Config

Virtual Environment

If you’re installing Hawkmoth in a Python virtual environment, use the --system-site-packages option when creating the virtual environment to make the distro Clang package available to the virtual environment. For example:

python3 -m venv --system-site-packages .venv

Read the Docs

It’s possible to set up Hawkmoth based documentation on Read the Docs (RTD). Use the .readthedocs.yaml configuration file to install system libclang and specify a Python requirements.txt file:

  os: ubuntu-22.04
    python: "3.11"
    - libclang-14-dev

    - requirements: requirements.txt

In the requirements.txt file, specify the dependencies:


To ensure the system libclang and Python clang compatibility, it’s recommended to specify matching major versions. RTD also recommends pinning all the versions to avoid unexpected build errors.

If the Clang Python Bindings fail to find libclang automatically, try adding this snippet to your

from hawkmoth.util import readthedocs


This will try to find libclang on RTD, and configure Clang Python Bindings to use it.