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Show the installation/modification times of all your pip packages and other tools

Project description

pip-date - Date your pip packages!

pypi supported versions PyPI version Maintenance GitHub last commit Average time to resolve an issue

A simple Python3 CLI tool to show the installation or modification times of all your pip packages.

STATUS: Version Date Maintained?
Working 1.0.5 2022-01-23 YES

Example Output:



Q: What does pip-date do?

The primary use is for finding the time when a certain pip package was last modified or installed. It is basically using one or more of: atime, ctime and mtime from the file status (stat) info. This is essentially equivalent to using the *nix stat command, but is handled differently on Windows. (See below for further details.)

Using this information, it can show you and highlight packages that may have been corrupted or outdated. I also has some functionality of checking packages for outdated and deprecated installation methods.

But it can do more. Some features are:

  • Highlight packages with inconsistent file modification times (mTime).
  • Highlight package versions which are not conforming to the PEP-0440 standard.
  • Highlight packages installed with an unusual package distribution priority given by: [chk, src, bin, egg, dev]
  • Highlight setuptools dependency packages for easy review
  • Show package installation type: with pip/wheel as wheel, and source as sdist (FIX!)
  • Show package installation location: usr for --user and sys for global installations.
  • Show correct file modification time, depending on OS/FS architecture (mtime vs ctime)

Q: What does it not do?

  • Does not install packages
  • Does not show dependencies
  • Does not (yet) show packages in a virtualenv or pipenv envrionment (ToDo)
  • Does not check package consistency
  • Does not show the very first time you installed a package, if it has been updated since.
    (Althought there are left-over artifacts that may show otherwise, we don't look for these.)

Q: Why is this needed?

It probably isn't, BUT...

Because python packages often rely on a large number of sub-dependencies, it is very easy to accidentally overwrite some required dependency of one package with a different version needed by another package. You will never know about it, until it breaks something. One common scenario causing package corruption is that you have installed some package XXX using pip, but then get an OS update and install the update using you OS packagemanagement system, like apt-get install XXX, which would probably overwrite the globally installed pip package. This is especially true for beginners of python, who has not yet learned how to use a virtual environment, and installing evything in either the global system (default) or user (--user) environments. This may also occur when installing packages from sources, or when you have to run some other non-pip installers like, make install or like, and you don't really know what it is going to do.

Q: What else is included?

  • A script called pip-describe, that will do what pip doesn't, which is to show the full-text long_description for any PyPI package (including those not already installed).

  • A script called pipbyday, that will print a simple table with:
    mTime/aTime + package-name + package-version, sorted by time.

  • A script called pyfileinfo, that will show detailed file and date information for a given file using python's os.stat info.

  • A script called pyOSinfo, that will print a number of os, system and platform variables, as seen by your Python interpreter.

  • NEW A script called (hold your breath!) pip-search, that will download and search all of the PyPi package database for packages matching your search criteria. However, for colored and sexy package searches, I recommend using pip_search. Also, for cool powershell wrapper of pip-search, read this.

Q: Will I continue to support this tool?

Sure, if it is broken, but I will not spend any more time for new features. So if you would like to add something just send me a PR, or at the very least, a detailed code snippet of what I need to implement.


  • requests - used by pip-describe to get PyPI info
  • lxml - used by pip-search to parse html from PyPI

and what you already have:


There is nothing to install really. Just download the file and make sure to place it in your PATH.

For pip installation:

pip install pip-date

For single file installation:

cd /usr/bin/
chmod 755 pip-date

For developer installation:

git clone
cd pip-date
pip install pip-date --user

How to Run

pip-date      # When it's in your PATH
./pip-date    # When it's not in your PATH


Time Stamps

It's quite amusing to see how different OS's and File System's (FS) are handling file time stamps. In the Linux world the available time stamps are called atime, ctime and mtime, where they are generally available through the stat command. However, Windows systems doesn't have this commmand because they are using a different way to blah blah...

To summarize the issue of finding the "last modification time" (mtime) when using Python on a Windows architechture, we need to use ctime instead. Thus we use platform.architecture() to check the machine's (bits, linkage) tuple for the "WindowsPE" string, and blatantly assuming that it has a Windows FS that need ctime, and that anything else should use mtime.

Then we use: os.path.getctime(pkg_loc) to get the file time stamp.

For all the gory details, see: here, here and here.


  • bdist - "Built Distribution":
    A Distribution format containing files and metadata that only need to be moved to the correct location on the target system, to be installed. Wheel is such a format, whereas distutil’s Source Distribution is not, in that it requires a build step before it can be installed. (A "Binary Distribution" is also a bdist, but with additional compiled extensions.)

  • sdist - "Source Distribution":
    A distribution format (usually generated using python sdist) that provides metadata and the essential source files needed for installing by a tool like pip, or for generating a Built Distribution.

  • egg - [deprecated]:
    The older Built Distribution format introduced by setuptools, which is being replaced by wheel.

  • wheel - "":
    A Built Distribution format introduced by PEP-0427, which is intended to replace the "egg" format. A wheel (bdist_wheel) is a ZIP-format archive with a specially formatted file name and using the .whl extension. Normally, you need one wheel file for each operating system and architechture. And that list can get long for big projects, like numpy.

Recommeded or Similar Tools:

  • pip-check - Check you pip package update status with nice ANSI colored CLI
  • pip-chill - Lists only the dependencies (or not) of installed packages
  • pip_search - Victor's amazing pip search replacement
  • venvlink - Using virtual environments outside of the project folder, like a boss!

Bugs and Warnings


ToDo / Help Needed

See issues marked ToDo.


Feel free to post issues and PR's related to this tool.
Feel free to fork, break, fix and contribute. Enjoy!

Additional Badges

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GitHub license
A license to :sparkling_heart:!

I use GPLv3 because sharing code modifications is more beneficial for the world.

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