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Wraps pip and venv to install scripts

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Somewhere between pip and pipsi

"pipis" stands for "pip isolate"
and "pipi" is the french for "peepee" which is a fun name but pipi was already taken…

Actually it is a rewrite of pipsi but with venv instead of virtualenv.

What does it do?

Pipis is a wrapper around venv and pip which installs scripts provided by python packages into separate venvs to shield them from your system and each other.

It creates a venv in ~/.local/share/pipis/venvs/, update pip, installs the package, and links the package's scripts to ~/.local/share/pipis/bin/. These directory can be changed respectively through the environment variables PIPIS_VENVS and PIPIS_BIN.

Why not pipsi?

Because i do not care about Python 2, and virtualenv copies python's binaries while venv just symlink them (which i think is cleaner, but it still copies pip which is not clean…).

How to install


Coming soon…


Create the pipis venvs and bin directories:

mkdir -p ~/.local/share/pipis/{venvs,bin}

Create and activate the pipis virtual environment:

python3 -m venv ~/.local/share/pipis/venvs/pipis
source ~/.local/share/pipis/venvs/pipis/bin/activate

Upgrade the pip package:

pip install -U pip

Install pipis:

pip install pipis

Exit the virtual environment:


Link the pipis script into the "global" bin directory:

ln -s ~/.local/share/pipis/venvs/pipis/bin/pipis ~/.local/share/pipis/bin/

Add the pipis "global" bin directory to your PATH:

export PATH="~/.local/share/pipis/bin:${PATH}"

How to update

pipis update pipis

How to uninstall

pipis uninstall pipis

How to use

Show help

$ pipis -h
usage: pipis [-h] [-v] {version,freeze,search,install,update,uninstall} ...

Pipis installs Python packages into their own dedicated virtualenv to shield
them from your system and from each other. Virtualenvs are created in
`PIPIS_VENVS` (default: `~/.local/share/pipis/<package>`) and links the
scripts to `PIPIS_BIN` (default: `~/.local/share/pipis/bin/`).

optional arguments:
  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -v, --verbose         enable verbose ouput

available commands:
    version             show pipis version
    freeze              output installed packages in requirements format
    search              search for PyPI packages whose name or summary
                        contains <query>
    install             install packages
    update              update packages
    uninstall           uninstall packages

You can also invoke --help on each commands.

Install package(s)

$ pipis install ansible
Package 'ansible' will be installed.
Do you want to continue [y/N]? y
Successfully installed ansible

Unattended install package(s)

$ pipis install -y awscli
Successfully installed awscli

Update package(s)

$ pipis update ansible
Package 'ansible' will be updated.
Do you want to continue [y/N]? y
Successfully updated ansible

List installed packages

$ pipis freeze

Uninstall package(s)

$ pipis uninstall ansible
Package 'ansible' will be uninstalled.
Do you want to continue [y/N]? y
Successfully uninstalled ansible



All notable changes to this project will be documented in this file.

The format is based on Keep a Changelog and this project adheres to Semantic Versioning.




  • Add search command, to search packages on PyPI.


  • Complete rewrite with argparse (removing depency to Click)


  • The list command, it had no real purpose
  • The possibility to install multiple package at once, will be re-added later
  • The possibility to upgrade all package with pipis update, will be re-added later



  • Add -I or --ignore-installed option on install and update commands.
  • Add -U or --upgrade option on install command.


  • Move some portion of code into separate functions to make the code easier to read.
  • Updating an uninstalled package will install it, instead of failing.
  • While creating symlinks, if the target already exists it will be replaced, instead of failing.


  • Fix some linting warnings.



  • Install option -s or --system-site-packages to give access to system site-packages to venv.
  • Allow to specify package version (ex: ansible==2.4.0).
  • Add a package into a package's venv with -d or --dependency option.
  • Add -v or --verbose option on install and update commands.



  • Refactor environment variable retrieval.



  • Destination venv directory can be set through the environment variable PIPIS_VENV.
  • Destination bin directory can be set through the environment variable PIPIS_BIN.


  • Format list output like pip's one.


  • Remove venv created in case of inexistant package install attempt.
  • Raise error when the package is a library (has no user script).
  • Raise error when the symlink destination already exists.
  • Raise error when trying to update an inexistant package.



  • Add freeze command to output installed packages in requirements format.
  • Add command to show pipis version.


  • Show version beside package name in list command.
  • Improve existing and add new help texts.
  • Add short from -y for --yes argument.
  • Factorize duplicate code.


  • Fix pep8 and pylint warnings.

1.1.0 - 2018-05-18


  • Add -r/--requirement for the remove command to allow passing requirements.txt file.
  • Add -r/--requirement for the update command to allow passing requirements.txt file.
  • Add -r/--requirement for the install command to allow passing requirements.txt file.


  • Change output information format fo when package are already/not installed.

1.0.1 - 2018-05-17


  • Reload sys.path and clean it after to avoid issue with "distribution not found".

1.0.0 - 2018-05-17


  • Everything.

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