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Fixing ‘ensurepip not available’ error when creating virtual environment with Python 3.6 on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 7

In the world of Python development, virtual environments are a crucial tool. They allow developers to isolate their project environment and manage dependencies efficiently. However, while setting up a virtual environment using Python 3.6 on Ubuntu, you might encounter an error message stating ‘ensurepip is not available’. This article will guide you through the steps to resolve this issue.

Understanding the Error

Before we dive into the solution, let’s understand the error. The ensurepip module is a Python standard library that helps to bootstrap the pip installer into an existing Python installation or into a virtual environment. The error ‘ensurepip is not available’ suggests that the module is missing or not accessible in your Python installation.

Prerequisites

To follow this guide, you’ll need:

  • Ubuntu 17.04 or later installed on your system
  • Python 3.6 installed on your system
  • Terminal or command-line access

Solution 1: Installing python3-venv

The first solution involves installing the python3-venv package. This package provides support for creating lightweight “virtual environments†with their own site directories, optionally isolated from system site directories.

  1. Open a terminal and run the following command to install python3-venv:
    sudo apt-get install python3-venv
    The sudo command is used to run operations that require root privileges. The apt-get install command installs the specified package, in this case python3-venv.
  2. After installing python3-venv, recreate your virtual environment using the command:
    python3.6 -m venv env
    Here, python3.6 -m venv env creates a new virtual environment named ‘env’ using Python 3.6.

Solution 2: Using virtualenv

If the above solution does not work, you can try using the virtualenv command instead. The virtualenv is a tool to create isolated Python environments.

  1. Install python-virtualenv using the command:
    sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv
  2. Then create the virtual environment using:
    virtualenv --python=python3.6 env
    The --python=python3.6 flag specifies the Python version to use, and ‘env’ is the name of the new virtual environment.

Solution 3: Installing python3.6-venv

In some cases, the python3-venv package may not be found. In such a scenario, you can try installing python3.6-venv instead:

sudo apt install python3.6-venv

Conclusion

Creating a virtual environment is a common task for Python developers. However, errors like ‘ensurepip is not available’ can sometimes occur. This guide has provided you with three solutions to this issue, and you should now be able to create a virtual environment with Python 3.6 on Ubuntu without any problems.

Remember, the Python community is a fantastic resource, and there are numerous forums and websites available to help you if you encounter any further issues. Happy coding!

What is a virtual environment in Python?

A virtual environment in Python is a self-contained directory that contains a specific Python installation and all the packages and dependencies required for a particular project. It allows developers to isolate their project environment and manage dependencies efficiently.

Why am I getting the ‘ensurepip is not available’ error?

The ‘ensurepip is not available’ error occurs when the ensurepip module is missing or not accessible in your Python installation. This module is responsible for bootstrapping the pip installer into an existing Python installation or virtual environment.

Which solution should I choose to fix the ‘ensurepip is not available’ error?

You should try the solutions in the given order. Start with Solution 1, then move on to Solution 2 if Solution 1 doesn’t work, and finally try Solution 3 if the previous solutions don’t resolve the issue.

Can I use a different version of Python instead of Python 3.6?

Yes, you can replace python3.6 in the commands with the version of Python you want to use. Just make sure that the desired Python version is installed on your system.

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