• I know pip is a package manager for python packages. However, I saw the installation on iPython's website use conda to install iPython.
  • Can I use pip to install iPython? Why should I use conda as another python package manager when I already have pip?
  • And what is the difference between pip and conda?

2 Answers 2


conda is a package management tool for installing scientific and analytical computing packages, which may be written in Python or other programming languages. conda also creates a virtual environment, like python-virtualenv does. conda is the package manager of Anaconda. Anaconda is a free Python distribution provided by Continuum Analytics, which includes over 195 of the most popular Python packages for science, math, engineering and data analysis, almost all of which are also available in the default Ubuntu repositories. Anaconda is known for making a big mess out of the default paths for many Python modules in Linux. For these reasons I don't recommend Anaconda for new Linux users.

pip is a general purpose Python package installer. In addition, python-pip and python3-pip are in the default Ubuntu repositories. In most cases you would choose pip instead of conda if you want to install a Python package management application. To create a Python virtual environment without installing conda, you can install python-virtualenv from the Ubuntu Software Center.

pip and conda use different packaging formats so they do not operate interchangeably, but you can use both tools side by side.

  • 1
    Footnote: Yes, you can use pip to install the latest version of IPython. I've done it myself. It's not necessary to install conda in order to install the latest version of IPython.
    – karel
    Jan 16, 2015 at 14:54

Conda is a Python Package Manager. One of the advantages of using Conda is it can create and manage multiple environments having different versions of Python installed. (I don't know if pip can do that.)

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