I am trying to install python package rpy2 with pip install on Ubuntu 16.04:

pip install rpy2==2.2.7

but get error message (see full output below):

Command "python setup.py egg_info" failed with error code 1 in /tmp/pip-build-EuOI6K/unroll/

The same thing happens with other packages, like pip install unroll, or using pip2. I thought this post was the same issue, but there it gets resolved by using sudo.

Solutions tried

I tried solutions in this post, like: pip install --upgrade setuptools, (sudo) easy_install -U setuptools, or sudo apt-get install python-setuptools, but to no avail.

python/pip info

Someone suggested I might have a weird python/pip installation, here are a few infos:

sudo which python pip pip2 | xargs -rd '\n' readlink -f 

sudo python --version   
Python 2.7.12  

sudo pip --version  
pip 9.0.1 from /home/matifou/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages (python 2.7)  
/usr/bin/pip2 --version  
pip 8.1.1 from /usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages (python 2.7)

ls -l $(which pip); dpkg -S /usr/bin/pip
-rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 204 Nov  8 16:24 /usr/local/bin/pip
python-pip: /usr/bin/pip

Full error output

pip install rpy2==2.2.7  
Collecting rpy2==2.2.7   Using cached rpy2-2.2.7.tar.gz  
    Complete output from command python setup.py egg_info:
    running egg_info
    creating pip-egg-info/rpy2.egg-info
    writing pip-egg-info/rpy2.egg-info/PKG-INFO
    writing top-level names to pip-egg-info/rpy2.egg-info/top_level.txt
    writing dependency_links to pip-egg-info/rpy2.egg-info/dependency_links.txt
    writing manifest file 'pip-egg-info/rpy2.egg-info/SOURCES.txt'
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "", line 1, in 
      File "/tmp/pip-build-EkrbmM/rpy2/setup.py", line 462, in 
        [os.path.join('doc', 'source', 'rpy2_logo.png')])],
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/distutils/core.py", line 151, in setup
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/distutils/dist.py", line 953, in run_commands
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/distutils/dist.py", line 972, in run_command
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/egg_info.py",
line 280, in run
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/egg_info.py",
line 295, in find_sources
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/egg_info.py",
line 526, in run
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/egg_info.py",
line 562, in add_defaults
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/py36compat.py",
line 36, in add_defaults
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/setuptools/command/py36compat.py",
line 119, in _add_defaults_ext
        build_ext = self.get_finalized_command('build_ext')
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/distutils/cmd.py", line 312, in get_finalized_command
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/distutils/cmd.py", line 109, in ensure_finalized
      File "/tmp/pip-build-EkrbmM/rpy2/setup.py", line 155, in finalize_options
        config += get_rconfig(r_home, about)
      File "/tmp/pip-build-EkrbmM/rpy2/setup.py", line 319, in get_rconfig
        rc = RConfig.from_string(rconfig, allow_empty = allow_empty)
      File "/tmp/pip-build-EkrbmM/rpy2/setup.py", line 279, in from_string
        + '\nin string\n' + string)
    ValueError: Invalid substring
    in string
    -Wl,--export-dynamic -fopenmp -Wl,-Bsymbolic-functions -Wl,-z,relro -L/usr/lib/R/lib -lR -lpcre -llzma -lbz2 -lz -lrt -ldl -lm

Command "python setup.py egg_info" failed with error code 1 in /tmp/pip-build-EkrbmM/rpy2/

pip install unroll
Collecting unroll   Using cached unroll-0.1.0.tar.gz
    Complete output from command python setup.py egg_info:
    Downloading http://pypi.python.org/packages/source/d/distribute/distribute-0.6.14.tar.gz
    Traceback (most recent call last):
      File "", line 1, in 
      File "/tmp/pip-build-QimGjp/unroll/setup.py", line 2, in 
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ez_setup.py", line 145, in use_setuptools
        return _do_download(version, download_base, to_dir, download_delay)
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ez_setup.py", line 124, in _do_download
        to_dir, download_delay)
      File "/usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ez_setup.py", line 193, in download_setuptools
        src = urlopen(url)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 154, in urlopen
        return opener.open(url, data, timeout)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 435, in open
        response = meth(req, response)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 548, in http_response
        'http', request, response, code, msg, hdrs)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 473, in error
        return self._call_chain(*args)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 407, in _call_chain
        result = func(*args)
      File "/usr/lib/python2.7/urllib2.py", line 556, in http_error_default
        raise HTTPError(req.get_full_url(), code, msg, hdrs, fp)
    urllib2.HTTPError: HTTP Error 403: SSL is required

Command "python setup.py egg_info" failed with error code 1 in tmp/pip-
  • Is R already installed? – lapisdecor Nov 11 '17 at 19:41
  • 1
    Try running it with the -H flag like sudo -H – George Udosen Nov 19 '17 at 15:03
  • Sorry but this is too messy for me to feel like helping someone untangle it at the moment. Even with the bounty. Thanks for your reminders though. – David Foerster Nov 19 '17 at 20:10
  • Thanks @George, but unfortunately even sith the sudo -H it does not work :-( – Matifou Nov 22 '17 at 21:21

Upgrade setuptools using pip

The version of python-setuptools in the package repository of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is out-of-date / unmaintained. Upgrade it with pip instead of relying on the package manager:

$ sudo pip install --upgrade setuptools
  • 1
    This solved my issue with in bionic, cheers. – Henrique de Sousa Oct 29 '20 at 17:11

Updating setuptools did not resolve my issue. However, telling pip to upgrade itself did.

The following command resolved my issue (from this answer)

pip install --upgrade pip
  • Thanks, upgrading setuptools also did not work for me. But upgrading pip solves the problem. – fsevenm Mar 21 '20 at 9:50

Solution I took for my own question: the answers proposed did not solve the issue, so I ended up using conda, creating a specific environment for the package I needed, and this worked! This is not the best solution, especially as it requires to install a parallel version (thou one can use miniconda for space) but is a practical one!


you need to get setup tools and probably dev modules type the following

sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
sudo apt-get install python-dev

it may make sense to upgrade pip first to ensure there's nothing but smooth running this is done by typing

sudo apt install python-pip

good luck

  • 1
    Thanks. But I actually already have these three installed, to their newest version... – Matifou Nov 12 '17 at 17:31

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