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Fixing a Missing “gi” Module Error in Python on Ubuntu

Ubuntu 16

Python is a versatile and powerful programming language widely used for various applications. However, like any other programming language, it’s not immune to errors and issues. One such error that Python users on Ubuntu may encounter is the missing “gi” module error. This article will guide you through several methods to fix this error.

Understanding the “gi” Module

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s understand what the “gi” module is. The “gi” module, also known as PyGObject, provides Python bindings for GObject based libraries such as GTK, GStreamer, and GLib. It is essential for developing applications that leverage these libraries.

Common Causes of the Error

The “gi” module error typically arises when the necessary packages or dependencies are not installed or configured correctly. This can occur due to an incorrect Python version, missing or outdated packages, or broken system configurations.

Solutions to Fix the Missing “gi” Module Error

1. Reinstall python-gobject Package

The first and most straightforward solution is to reinstall the python-gobject package. The command to do this on Ubuntu is:

sudo apt-get install python-gobject

This command uses the apt-get package manager to install the python-gobject package. The sudo command is used to execute the command with root privileges.

2. Check Python Version and Paths

Another common cause of the error is using an incorrect Python version. You can check your Python version with the following command:

python --version

This command will display the version of Python currently being used. If the version does not match your expectations, you may need to update or change your Python version.

You should also check the Python module search path:

python -c "import sys; print(sys.path)"

This command will print the directories where Python looks for modules. Ensure that this path includes the directory where the “gi” module is installed.

3. Reconfigure Python

If the Python configuration is broken, you can try reconfiguring it:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure python2.7

This command will reconfigure the Python 2.7 package. Replace python2.7 with your Python version if it’s different.

4. Check Dependencies

The “gi” module requires several dependencies to work correctly. These may include packages like libcairo2-dev, gcc, python3-dev, libgirepository1.0-dev, etc. You can install these dependencies with the following command:

sudo apt-get install libcairo2-dev gcc python3-dev libgirepository1.0-dev

5. Virtual Environment

If you are using a virtual environment, ensure it is activated before installing or importing the “gi” module. You can activate the virtual environment with the following command:

source /path/to/venv/bin/activate

Replace /path/to/venv with the actual path to your virtual environment.

6. Verify Python Paths and Symbolic Links

Check the paths where Python modules are installed. If necessary, create symbolic links to the “gi” module using the ln -s command. For example:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/gi /home/your_username/your_python_path/3.8/lib/python3.8/site-packages

This command creates a symbolic link from the gi module in the system Python library to the Python library in your user directory.

7. Update or Reinstall Python

If none of the above solutions work, you may need to update or reinstall Python. You can update Python using the apt-get package manager:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade python3

If necessary, you can uninstall and reinstall Python:

sudo apt-get remove python3
sudo apt-get install python3


The missing “gi” module error in Python on Ubuntu can be frustrating, but it’s usually easy to fix. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should be able to resolve the issue and get back to coding in no time. As always, remember to backup your work before making any significant changes to your system. Happy coding!

What should I do if the “gi” module is still missing after trying the solutions mentioned?

If the "gi" module is still missing after trying the solutions mentioned, you can try uninstalling and reinstalling the "gi" module specifically. You can do this using the following command:

pip uninstall pygobject
pip install pygobject

Make sure you have the pip package manager installed before running these commands.

Can I use a different package manager other than `apt-get` to install the necessary packages and dependencies?

Yes, you can use a different package manager like aptitude or apt to install the necessary packages and dependencies. The specific commands may differ slightly, but the overall process remains the same. For example, instead of using sudo apt-get install python-gobject, you can use sudo aptitude install python-gobject or sudo apt install python-gobject.

How can I check if the “gi” module is installed correctly?

You can check if the "gi" module is installed correctly by opening a Python shell and trying to import it. Open a terminal and type python to open the Python shell. Then, try importing the "gi" module with the following command:

import gi

If there are no errors, it means the "gi" module is installed correctly. If you encounter an error, it indicates that the module is still missing or not installed correctly.

Can I use a different Python version other than Python 2.7 or Python 3?

Yes, you can use a different Python version other than Python 2.7 or Python 3. However, the specific commands and steps may vary depending on the version you are using. Make sure to replace python2.7 or python3 with the appropriate Python version in the commands mentioned in the solutions.

How can I create a virtual environment for Python?

To create a virtual environment for Python, you can use the venv module, which is available in Python 3. Open a terminal and navigate to the desired directory where you want to create the virtual environment. Then, run the following command:

python3 -m venv myenv

This command creates a virtual environment named "myenv" in the current directory. You can replace "myenv" with your preferred name. To activate the virtual environment, use the following command:

source myenv/bin/activate

Replace "myenv" with the name of your virtual environment. Once activated, you can install and use the "gi" module within the virtual environment.

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