PIP Tool For Easy Management Of Python Packages In Linux

Python is a very popular and powerful scripting language and has thousands of modules available which help extend its functionality. Python version that comes installed out of the box with Linux distributions has some modules pre-installed. Python modules are made freely available on the pypi website in the form of archives. PIP tool for easy Management.

In order to install a module, we could do it manually by downloading the modules from the pypi site, extract the archive and compile and install the module. This method would involve a lot of manual work and could easily become tedious when modules have other dependencies involved. PIP utility was introduced to resolve this problem. Name pip is an acronym for python indexing project.

The pip software is a command line package manager for python modules. We can use it to search for and install python modules. The best part about using pip is that it will take care of any dependencies the concerned modules have and install those dependencies automatically.

Install pip tool

To install pip on a red hat based system, we use the following command

[root@sahil-centos ~]# yum install python-pip
python2-pip.noarch 0:8.1.2-5.el7


Note: You need to have the EPEL repository enabled on your system for the above command to work because the python2-pip package resides in the EPEL repository.

To install pip on an Ubuntu system, use the following command

root@sahil-ubuntu:~# apt install python-pip

Verify that pip is installed

To verify that you have installed pip and check the version of pip installed use the following command

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip --version
pip 9.0.1 from /usr/lib/python2.7/site-packages (python 2.7)

Search for a package

We use the pip search command followed by the module name to search for it.
The pip search command does a regular expression match for the package name being searched.
So it will match the searched string as the entire package name, part of the name or an occurrence of the searched string in the package description.

Let’s look for SciPy, a popular python module used for scientific applications.

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip search scipy
apgl (0.8.1) - A fast python graph library based on numpy and scipy.
austin (2016.0.1) - austin scipy package
cloudml (0.4.2) - Machine learning as a service scipy-trainer
coo_utils ( - utilities for managing nested lists of lists of scipy.sparse matrices
---------------------------------------------------------output truncated for brevity
scikits.fitting (0.6) - Framework for fitting functions to data with SciPy
scikits.statsmodels (0.3.1) - Statistical computations and models for use with SciPy
scipy-sugar (1.0.4) - Missing SciPy functionalities
scipy-stack (0.0.5) - Helper to install the SciPy stack
scipy (1.0.0) - SciPy: Scientific Library for Python
scipydirect (1.3) - Python wrapper to the DIRECT algorithm
scipyplot (0.0.5) - A Python Toolbox for Creating Scientific Article Figures
---------------------------------------------------------output truncated for brevity

Install a package using PIP

Use pip install command to install a module. Let’s install the scipy module we searched for earlier.

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip install scipy
Collecting scipy
Downloading scipy-1.0.0-cp27-cp27mu-manylinux1_x86_64.whl (46.7MB)
100% |████████████████████████████████| 46.7MB 11kB/s
Requirement already satisfied: numpy>=1.8.2 in /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages (from scipy)
Installing collected packages: scipy
Successfully installed scipy-1.0.0

Display information about a package

To display information about a python module, we use the pip show command. Let’s retrieve information about the scipy module we installed in the earlier example.

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip show scipy
Name: scipy
Version: 1.0.0
Summary: SciPy: Scientific Library for Python
Home-page: https://www.scipy.org
Author: SciPy Developers
Author-email: scipy-dev@python.org
License: BSD
Location: /usr/lib64/python2.7/site-packages
Requires: numpy

Uninstall a package Using PIP

To remove an installed package from the system, we use the pip uninstall command. We’ll demonstrate this by removing the scipy package we had installed earlier.

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip uninstall scipy
Uninstalling scipy-1.0.0:
--------------------------------------------------output truncated for brevity
Proceed (y/n)? y
Successfully uninstalled scipy-1.0.0

 List python packages currently installed on the system

To display all python based packages and python modules installed on the system, use the pip list command. Here’s a snippet from the output of the pip list command executed on my centos 7 system.

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip list | tail
six (1.9.0)
slip (0.4.0)
slip.dbus (0.4.0)
targetcli-fb (2.1.fb41)
targetd (0.7)
urlgrabber (3.10)
urllib3 (1.10.2)
urwid (1.1.1)
yum-langpacks (0.4.2)
yum-metadata-parser (1.1.4)

 Upgrade a package/module

Update an existing python package we use pip install command with the –upgrade option. Given below is an example

[root@sahil-centos ~]# pip install --upgrade pip
Collecting pip
Downloading pip-9.0.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (1.3MB)
100% |████████████████████████████████| 1.3MB 149kB/s
Installing collected packages: pip
Found existing installation: pip 8.1.2
Uninstalling pip-8.1.2:
Successfully uninstalled pip-8.1.2
Successfully installed pip-9.0.1

Installing pip without root privileges or sudo access

If you are not a system administrator designated for the server you are working on, then you would probably not be able to install pip on the system with sudo access.

But you can install pip for your own use on the system. We’ll now walk you through the step by step process of setting it up.

Step1: Download the pip software from the web

We’ll use wget to download the pip installer to our local system as shown below

[sahil@sahil-centos ~]$ wget https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
--2017-12-10 12:30:35-- https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
Resolving bootstrap.pypa.io...
Connecting to bootstrap.pypa.io||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 1595408 (1.5M) [text/x-python]
Saving to: “get-pip.py”

100%[==================================>] 1,595,408 517K/s in 3.0s

2017-12-10 12:30:54 (517 KB/s) - “get-pip.py” saved [1595408/1595408]

Step 2: Install pip for the currently logged in user

Use the following command to install and set up pip for use by the currently logged in OS user.

[sahil@sahil-centos ~]$ python get-pip.py --user
DEPRECATION: Python 2.6 is no longer supported by the Python core team, please upgrade your Python. A future version of pip will drop support for Python 2.6
Collecting pip
Downloading pip-9.0.1-py2.py3-none-any.whl (1.3MB)
100% |████████████████████████████████| 1.3MB 357kB/s
Collecting wheel
Downloading wheel-0.30.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl (49kB)
100% |████████████████████████████████| 51kB 59kB/s
Installing collected packages: pip, wheel
Successfully installed pip-9.0.1 wheel-0.30.0

Step 3: Verify that pip has been installed

The previous command will create a ./local/bin directory path in your home directory. Go to that directory and you will find the pip binary available.

Verify that pip has been installed by checking the pip version.

[sahil@sahil-centos bin]$ pwd
[sahil@sahil-centos bin]$ ./pip --version
pip 9.0.1 from /home/sahil/.local/lib/python2.6/site-packages (python 2.6)

This confirms that our installation of the pip software has been successful. To avoid changing to the ~/.local/bin directory every time you need to use pip, you could modify the PATH variable and add the .local/bin directory to your path to allow pip to be used directly.

Edit the .bash_profile file in your home directory and update the PATH variable with the line PATH=$PATH:~/.local/bin and then source the file with the following command

. .bash_profile


We hope that you’ve found our explanation and demonstration of using the pip tool for maintaining python packages useful and will consider giving it a try. As always we look forward towards your feedback and suggestions.

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Thanks for your wonderful Support and Encouragement

Sahil Suri

I am a system administrator who loves to learn and share my knowledge with the community. I've been working in the IT industry since 2011.

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