Broken Pip

So I managed upgrading Ubuntu from 12.04 to 14.04 and somehow even fixed some issues with tex by typing obscure commands in my shell. Now I wanted to install zipline for which I need conda for which I need pip, the python package manager.
Well, seems the upgrade to 14.04 broke pip. Any command line switches I have tried lead to ImportError: cannot import name IncompleteRead.

The guys with the funny names on the internet recommended to do a sudo easy_install pip which basically convinces another python package manager to install pip. This is of course stupid, since Ubuntu is package-based and so my aptitude would get confused if i install stuff into the global /usr/local/lib/python2.7/

I did a easy_install --user pip which installed pip into .local/bin/pip I think I can live with that. Finally, I wanted to have anaconda. Anaconda is a virtual environment for python, like virtualenv, but it can also cope with non-python library dependencies.

$ ./.local/bin/pip install --user conda
Downloading/unpacking conda
Real name of requirement conda is conda
Could not find any downloads that satisfy the requirement conda

Stupid machine. Y u no installing?
So i tried the broken global pip from /usr/bin/ which now magically worked again and did not throw ImportErrors.

$ pip install conda
Downloading/unpacking conda
Cannot fetch index base URL
Could not find any downloads that satisfy the requirement conda

Then another ./.local/bin/pip install --user conda worked. Don’t ask me why.

Arguing with Conda

Now, on to zipline. At least that was my thought process.

$ conda install -c Quantopian zipline
Error: This installation of conda is not initialized. Use 'conda create -n
to create a conda environment and 'source activate envname' to
activate it.

# Note that pip installing conda is not the recommended way for setting up your
# system. The recommended way for setting up a conda system is by installing
# Miniconda, see:

Damn, I did it the wrong way, via pip. FYI, miniconda cannot be found with aptitude. So I made my own environment: conda create -n myenv python which fetched some packages and put them somewhere in $HOME/envs/myenv Activating this environment should be straightforward with source activate myenv. After creating myenv this conda stuff even said to me:

# To activate this environment, use:
# $ source activate myenv
# To deactivate this environment, use:
# $ source deactivate

Oh, how wrong I was:

$ source activate myenv
Traceback (most recent call last):
File "/home/hjgk/.local/bin/conda", line 5, in <module>
File "/home/hjgk/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/conda/cli/", line 67, in main
File "/home/hjgk/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/conda/cli/", line 99, in main
conda.install.symlink_conda(join(binpath, '..'), conda.config.root_dir)
File "/home/hjgk/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/conda/", line 371, in symlink_conda
os.symlink(root_conda, prefix_conda)
OSError: [Errno 17] File exists

After googling I found out that the problem apparently was that conda could not handle local installations.

$ ls -la envs/myenv/bin/activate 
lrwxrwxrwx 1 hjgk hjgk 17 Feb 8 17:29 envs/myenv/bin/activate -> /usr/bin/activate

And /usr/bin/activate did not exist. I decided to remove all that damn conda-stuff and install zipline via pip. At least pip uninstall conda worked like a charm.

More pip

So according to the zipline docs I needed to do

pip install numpy   # Pre-install numpy to handle dependency chain quirk
pip install zipline

Of course I quickly added the --user switches, and indeed it worked. I do not know why, because which pip gave me /usr/bin/pip which was broken at the beginning of this post and the correct one should have been in ~/.local/bin/pip.

I ran python ~/.local/bin/ -f --symbols AAPL --start 2011-1-1 --end 2012-1-1 -o dma.pickle according to the zipline docs which wrote a dma.pickle file. It would be nice to set a path for python, so it looks into ~/.local/bin/ and i can just write python -f blablabla but I have not found out how this works.


The python ecosystem sucks. I have two package managers, easy_install and pip, which can repair each other. I mean, what is the point of having a package manager bundled with the operating system when you cannot use it and are doomed to update your python-packages manually like some Windows-user?
There is virtualenv and anaconda, which mostly do the same thing. I have not tested virtualenv and do not intend to do so, but anaconda or conda or miniconda or whichever part of that stuff I have used feels like being stuck in haskells cabal hell.
And don’t get me even started on python 3 and those python notebooks.


08 February 2015


Computer Trick