execute binaries from Python packages in isolated environments
pipx: execute binaries from Python packages in isolated environments
pipx uses the word "binary" to describe a CLI application that can be run directly from the command line. These files are located in the
bin directory of a Python installation, alongside other executables. Despite the name, they do not necessarily contain binary data.
- Safely install packages to isolated virtual environments, while globally exposing their CLI applications so you can run them from anywhere
- Easily list, upgrade, and uninstall packages that were installed with pipx
- Run the latest version of a CLI application from a package in a temporary virtual environment, leaving your system untouched after it finishes
- Runs with regular user permissions, never calling
sudo pip install ...(you aren't doing that, are you? 😄).
Safely installing to isolated environments
You can globally install a CLI application by running
pipx install PACKAGE
This automatically creates a virtual environment, installs the package, and symlinks the package's CLI binaries to a location on your
PATH. For example,
pipx install cowsay makes the
cowsay command available globally, but sandboxes the cowsay package in its own virtual environment. pipx never needs to run as sudo to do this.
>> pipx install cowsay installed package cowsay 2.0, Python 3.6.7 These binaries are now globally available - cowsay done! ✨ 🌟 ✨ >> cowsay moooo _____ < moooo > ===== \ \ ^__^ (oo)\_______ (__)\ )\/ ||----w | || ||
Running in one-time ephemeral environments
pipx makes running the latest version of a program in a one-time environment as easy as
pipx run BINARY [ARGS...]
This will install the package in a temporary directory, invoke the binary, then clean up after itself, leaving your system untouched. Try it!
pipx run cowsay moo
Notice that you don't need to execute any install commands to run the binary.
You can run .py files directly, too.
pipx run https://gist.githubusercontent.com/cs01/fa721a17a326e551ede048c5088f9e0f/raw/6bdfbb6e9c1132b1c38fdd2f195d4a24c540c324/pipx-demo.py pipx is working!
"Just the “pipx upgrade-all” command is already a huge win over pipsi" — Stefane Fermigier
"This tool filled in the gap that was missing with pipenv and virtualenvwrapper." — Mason Egger
"Thank you! Great tool btw. I already use it instead of pipsi :)" — @tkossak
python 3.6+ is required to install pipx. pipx can run binaries from packages with Python 3.3+. Don't have Python 3.6 or later? See Python 3 Installation & Setup Guide.
pipx works on macOS, linux, and Windows.
pip install --user pipx pipx ensurepath
to be sure you are using python3 you can run
python3 -m pip install --user pipx pipx ensurepath
You can run
pipx COMMAND --help for details on each command.
Install a Package
The install command is the preferred way to globally install binaries from python packages on your system. It creates an isolated virtual environment for the package, then in a folder on your PATH creates symlinks to all the binaries provided by the installed package. It does not link to the package's dependencies.
The result: binaries you can run from anywhere, located in packages you can cleanly upgrade or uninstall. Guaranteed to not have dependency version conflicts or interfere with your OS's python packages. All without running
pipx install PACKAGE pipx install --python PYTHON PACKAGE pipx install --spec VCS_URL PACKAGE pipx install --spec ZIP_FILE PACKAGE pipx install --spec TAR_GZ_FILE PACKAGE
The argument to
--spec is passed directly to
The default virtual environment location is
~/.local/pipx/venvs and can be overridden by setting the environment variable
The default binary location is
~/.local/bin and can be overridden by setting the environment variable
Package Installation Examples
pipx install cowsay pipx install --python python3.6 cowsay pipx install --python python3.7 cowsay pipx install --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black black pipx --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black.git@branch-name black pipx --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black.git@git-hash black pipx install --spec https://github.com/ambv/black/archive/18.9b0.zip black pipx install --spec black[d] black
Upgrades a package within its virtual environments by running
pip install --upgrade PACKAGE.
pipx upgrade PACKAGE
Upgrades all packages within their virtual environments by running
pip install --upgrade PACKAGE.
Adds packages to an existing pipx-managed virtual environment.
pipx inject PACKAGE DEPENDENCIES
One use of the inject command is setting up a REPL with some useful extra packages.
pipx install ptpython pipx inject ptpython requests pendulum
After running the above commands, you will be able to import and use the
pendulum packages inside a
Uninstalls a package by deleting its virtual environment and any symlinks that point to its binaries.
pipx uninstall PACKAGE
Uninstalls all packages (including pipx)
Reinstalls all packages using a different version of Python.
pipx reinstall-all PYTHON
Specify a version of Python to associate all installed packages with. Packages are uninstalled, then installed with
pip install PACKAGE. This is useful if you upgraded to a new version of Python and want all your packages to use the latest as well.
If you originally installed a package from a source other than PyPI, this command may behave in unexpected ways since it will reinstall from PyPI.
Lists installed packages/binaries
results in something like
venvs are in /Users/user/.local/pipx/venvs symlinks to binaries are in /Users/user/.local/bin package black 18.9b0, Python 3.7.0 - black - blackd package pipx 0.10.0, Python 3.7.0 - pipx
Run a binary from the latest version of its package in a temporary, ephemeral environment.
pipx run BINARY pipx [--python PYTHON] [--spec SPEC] BINARY [ARGS...]
pipx run Examples
pipx enables you to test various combinations of Python versions and package versions in ephemeral environments:
pipx run BINARY # latest version of binary is run with python3 pipx --spec PACKAGE==2.0.0 run BINARY # specific version of package is run pipx --python 3.4 run BINARY # Installed and invoked with specific Python version pipx --python 3.7 --spec PACKAGE=1.7.3 run BINARY pipx --spec git+https://url.git run BINARY # latest version on master is run pipx --spec git+https://url.git@branch run BINARY pipx --spec git+https://url.git@hash run BINARY pipx run cowsay moo pipx --version # prints pipx version pipx run cowsay --version # prints cowsay version pipx --python pythonX cowsay pipx --spec cowsay==2.0 cowsay --version pipx --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black.git black pipx --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black.git@branch-name black pipx --spec git+https://github.com/ambv/black.git@git-hash black pipx --spec https://github.com/ambv/black/archive/18.9b0.zip black --help pipx https://gist.githubusercontent.com/cs01/fa721a17a326e551ede048c5088f9e0f/raw/6bdfbb6e9c1132b1c38fdd2f195d4a24c540c324/pipx-demo.py
I'll use the python package
black as an example. The
black package ships with a binary called black. You can run it with pipx just like this.
pipx run black --help Usage: black [OPTIONS] [SRC]... The uncompromising code formatter. ...
Black just ran, but you didn't have to run
venv or install commands. How easy was that!?
pipx makes safely installing the program to globally accessible, isolated environment as easy as
pipx install black
black will be available globally, wherever you want to use it, but not mixed in with your OS's Python packages.
black --help # now available globally Usage: black [OPTIONS] [SRC]... The uncompromising code formatter. ...
Aside: I just want to take a second to note how different this is from using
sudo pip install ...(which you should NEVER do). Using
sudo pip install ...will mix Python packages installed and required by your OS with whatever you just installed. This can result in very bad things happening. And since all the dependencies were installed along with it (and you have no idea what they were), you can't easily uninstall them -- you have to know every single one and run
sudo pip uninstall ...for them!
You can uninstall packages with
pipx uninstall black
This uninstalls the black package and all of its dependencies, but doesn't affect any other packages or binaries.
Programs to try with pipx
Here are some programs you can try out with no obligation. If you've never used the program before, make sure you add the
--help flag so it doesn't do something you don't expect. If you decide you want to install, you can run
pipx install PACKAGE instead.
pipx install ansible # IT automation pipx run asciinema # Record and share your terminal sessions, the right way. pipx run black # uncompromising Python code formatter pipx --spec babel run pybabel # internationalizing and localizing Python applications pipx --spec chardet run chardetect # detect file encoding pipx run cookiecutter # creates projects from project templates pipx run create-python-package # easily create and publish new Python packages pipx run flake8 # tool for style guide enforcement pipx run gdbgui # browser-based gdb debugger pipx run hexsticker # create hexagon stickers automatically pipx run ipython # powerful interactive Python shell pipx run pipenv # python dependency/environment management pipx run poetry # python dependency/environment/packaging management pipx run pylint # source code analyzer pipx run pyinstaller # bundles a Python application and all its dependencies into a single package pipx run pyxtermjs # fully functional terminal in the browser pipx install shell-functools # Functional programming tools for the shell
How it Works
When running a binary (
pipx run BINARY), pipx will
- create a temporary directory
- create a virtualenv inside it with
python -m venv
- update pip to the latest version
- install the desired package in the virtualenv
- invoke the binary
- erase the temporary directory leaving your system untouched
When installing a package and its binaries (
pipx install package) pipx will
- create directory ~/.local/pipx/venvs/PACKAGE
- create a virtualenv in ~/.local/pipx/venvs/PACKAGE
- update pip to the latest version
- install the desired package in the virtualenv
- create symlinks in ~/.local/bin that point to new binaries in ~/.local/pipx/venvs/PACKAGE/bin (such as ~/.local/bin/black -> ~/.local/pipx/venvs/black/bin/black)
- As long as
~/.local/bin/is on your PATH, you can now invoke the new binaries globally
These are all things you can do yourself, but pipx automates them for you. If you are curious as to what pipx is doing behind the scenes, you can always use
pipx --verbose ....
pipx first clone the repository, then create and activate a virtual environment.
python3 -m venv pipxvenv source pipxvenv/bin/activate
Next install pipx in "editable mode".
pip install -e .
Now make your changes and run
pipx as you normally would. Your changes will be used as soon as they are saved.
Make sure your changes pass tests by installing development dependencies
pip install -e .[dev]
then running tests
When finished, you can exit the virtual environment by running
deactivate and remove the virtual environment with
rm -r pipxvenv.
How does this compare to pipsi?
- pipx is under active development. pipsi is no longer maintained.
- pipx and pipsi both install packages in a similar way
- pipx always makes sure you're using the latest version of pip
- pipx has the ability to run a binary in one line, leaving your system unchanged after it finishes (
pipx run BINARY) where pipsi does not
- pipx adds more useful information to its output
- pipx has more CLI options such as upgrade-all, reinstall-all, uninstall-all
- pipx is more modern. It uses Python 3.6+, and venv instead of virtualenv.
- pipx works with Python homebrew installations while pipsi does not (at least on my machine)
- pipx defaults to less verbose output
- pipx allows you to see each command it runs by passing the --verbose flag
- pipx prints emojies 😀
Migrating to pipx from pipsi
pipx does not provide an automatic migration command,
it is pretty easy to do it from the command-line:
# install pipx with the recommended method pip install --user pipx pipx ensurepath # you may have to open a new terminal here for pipx to be on your PATH # migrate from pipsi to pipx pipsi list | grep 'Package ' | cut -d\" -f2 | \ while read -r p; do pipsi uninstall --yes "$p" # reinstall everything with python 3.6 pipx install --python python3.6 "$p" done # clean up rm -rf ~/.local/pipsi rm ~/.local/bin/pipsi
If you want to do this manually, you will have to remove pipsi's directory completely then reinstall everything with pipx.
First remove pipsi's directory (this is its default)
rm -r ~/.local/pipsi
There will still be symlinks in
~/.local/bin that point to
~/.local/pipsi/venvs. If you reinstall the same packages with
pipx, the symlinks will be overwritten with valid symlinks that point to the new pipx directory in
~/.local/pipx/venvs. You may also want to remove files in
~/.local/bin, but be sure the files you delete there were created by pipsi.
How does this compare with
run with this is focused on running arbitrary Python code in ephemeral environments while pipx is focused on running Python binaries in ephemeral and non-ephemeral environments.
For example these two commands both install poetry to an ephemeral environment and invoke poetry with
pipx run poetry --help pip-run poetry -- -m poetry --help
pipx was created and is maintained by Chad Smith.
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