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On Linux and OS X, I believe what Inkscape does is fork/exec the python script but likely with some choice environment variables defined. I don't know if it's piping the input/output to the process or what exactly. But if you look at the tail end of the script, you can see it has code for when it's running as main(). And it does import a number of modules from Inkscape's extensions/ directory so that has to somehow be in Python's search path for importing modules. (Likely, the forked process has that as its current working directory.) Unfortunately, the last time I looked (two years ago?), there was no Inkscape documentation on how extensions are run or what their expected run-time environment is.