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pipipxx (pronounced pipx in pipx): Bootstrap your pipx with pipx.

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windows CPython 3.7 Linux Python 3.7

pipx is great for keeping your CLI tools isolated and your system Python paths clean. However, it still requires that you install pipx itself in your system Python.

But pipx is a CLI tool installed through pip…why not install pipx with pipx? Why not indeed!

With pipx-in-pipx, all you need to do is install :

$ pip install pipx-in-pipx

But wait! You say. Didn’t you just say that we shouldn’t install things to system Python?

Yes. What pipx-in-pipx actually does is slightly (but only slightly) evil. Rather than actually installing anything when you run “install”, pipx-in-pipx instead builds a temporary virtual environment, installs pipx there, and then uses that pipx to install pipx in your user local space, just like any other pipx-installed tool.

What you end up with is a pipx installation that is itself managed by pipx.

Sharp Edges

Which Python?

By default, pipx uses its own Python for each environment that it creates. Normally, this would be the system Python, whatever it was when you installed pipx. However, when your are using a pipx-in-pipx-installed pipx, the default Python that pipx uses for each environment it creates is instead whatever Python you used to “install” pipx-in-pipx.

This has two notable side effects:

  1. If you uninstall your pipx-managed pipx, then all of the tools that you installed using that pipx will stop working because their Pythons suddenly point to nothing.
  2. If you want to change the Python used by all of your pipx-managed tools, you only need to reinstall one of them (pipx) rather than reinstalling all of them.

Uninstalling

pipx has a handy feature to uninstall all pipx-managed tools. Because you have now made pipx manage itself, running pipx uninstall-all will also uninstall pipx.

This is not a bug, but a feature. By installing pipx using pipx-in-pipx, you have expressed an intent that you want pipx to manage itself. If that’s not what you want, this is not the tool for you.

If you at any point uninstall your pipx-managed pipx, you can simply pip install pipx-in-pipx again to rebuild it.

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