I've installed the latest Ubuntu Gnome today, and was setting-up my machine for data science-related work. When I tried installing tensorflow-gpu, I ran into a crash from pip3:

me@pc:~/Desktop$ pip3
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_vendor/__init__.py", line 33, in vendored
    __import__(vendored_name, globals(), locals(), level=0)
ImportError: No module named 'pip._vendor.pkg_resources'

During handling of the above exception, another exception occurred:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/bin/pip3", line 9, in <module>
    from pip import main
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/__init__.py", line 13, in <module>
    from pip.exceptions import InstallationError, CommandError, PipError
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/exceptions.py", line 6, in <module>
    from pip._vendor.six import iteritems
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_vendor/__init__.py", line 75, in <module>
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_vendor/__init__.py", line 36, in vendored
    __import__(modulename, globals(), locals(), level=0)
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 969, in _find_and_load
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 958, in _find_and_load_unlocked
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 664, in _load_unlocked
  File "<frozen importlib._bootstrap>", line 634, in _load_backward_compatible
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2927, in <module>
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2913, in _call_aside
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2952, in _initialize_master_working_set
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 956, in subscribe
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2952, in <lambda>
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2515, in activate
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2097, in declare_namespace
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2047, in _handle_ns
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/pkg_resources-0.0.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/pkg_resources/__init__.py", line 2066, in _rebuild_mod_path
AttributeError: '_NamespacePath' object has no attribute 'sort'

I tried purging python3-pip and reinstalling, still does not work. I get the above just by running pip3 in the terminal and hitting ENTER.

Any ideas?

EDIT: Also the two paths are different for pip and pip3:

me@pc:~$ which pip
me@pc:~$ which pip3

2 Answers 2


I fixed this by creating a new virtual environment

  1. A new virtual environment can be created by:

    python3 -m venv /tmp/newvenv
  2. Then I checked if pip works ok in the new virtual environment:

    cd /tmp/newvenv/bin

This gave me the normal message as in the following:

pip [options]


install Install packages.

download Download packages.


However, pip3 still has failed.


This still gave me the error message.

Then I decided to copy working versions of pip to the home directory. For the below two steps (#3 and #4) you may want to keep backup copies.

  1. I have overwritten pip and pip-9.0.1.dist-info from the virtual environment to home directory:

    cp -r /tmp/newvenv/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pip ~/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/
    cp -r /tmp/newvenv/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pip-9.0.1.dist-info ~/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/
  2. I also copied the following two files:

    cp /tmp/newvenv/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pkg_resources/__init__.py ~/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pkg_resources/ 
    cp /tmp/newvenv/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pkg_resources/py31compat.py ~/.local/lib/python3.5/site-packages/pkg_resources/

After these steps pip3 is working ok in my case.


Your python setuptools package is broken.

Run sudo apt install python3-setuptools first.


pip3 install --upgrade setuptools
pip3 install --upgrade pip
  • 2
    first, I need pip3, not pip. Second, I cannot use pip3 for anything. Simply executing pip3 gives the above error.
    – Qubix
    Jan 22, 2018 at 8:44

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