Unbreaking Python Through Virtual Environments

  • The ability to change the global Python version on a per-user basis.
  • Provide support for per-project Python versions.
  • Allow override of the Python version with an environment variable.
  • Search command for multiple Python versions at a time.
  1. Use virtualenv-1.9 or greater.
  2. Advise against pip 1.3.

Step 1 Install virtualenv

pip install virtualenv

Step 2 Setup a New Environement

virtualenv <dir>
$ virtualenv python-env-examples 
Using base prefix '/Users/adron/.pyenv/versions/3.7.3'
New python executable in /Users/adron/Codez/python-env-examples/bin/python3.7
Also creating executable in /Users/adron/Codez/python-env-examples/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pip, wheel...
  • /python-env-examples/lib and /python-env-examples/include now exist and contain libs for the environment, with /python-env-examples/lib/pythonX.X/site-packages being the location that will now receive any packages that are installed to the environment.
  • a bin directory is created for executables to live including a new python executable. We can even use this directory's path to run a script by issuing /python-env-examples/bin/python or use the specific environment for a pip install. Check the specific versions in that directory with python --version and pip -V to determine what version is setup in that particular environment. This also can be used to determine the difference between the system Python that is setup versus the specific environment.

Step 3 Activate The Environment

The final step I’ll discuss is activating the environment. To do this I navigate to /python-env-examples/bin and source the activate script. It is important to choose the right activate script for your operating system. A list against the bin directory and we can see the other options available.

> ls
activate activate.ps1 easy_install pip3 python-config wheel
activate.csh activate.xsh easy_install-3.7 pip3.7 python3
activate.fish activate_this.py pip python python3.7
source ./activate



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Adron Hall

Adron Hall

Software dev, data, heavy metal, transit, economics, freethought, atheism, cycling, livability, beautiful things & adrenaline junkie.