Virtualenv uses wrong python, even though it is first in $PATH


I had a problem where python was not finding modules installed by pip while in the virtualenv.

I have narrowed it down, and found that when I call python when my virtualenv in activated, it still reaches out to /usr/bin/python instead of /home/liam/dev/.virtualenvs/noots/bin/python.

When I use which python in the virtualenv I get:


When I look up my $PATH variable in the virtualenv I get:

bash: /home/liam/dev/.virtualenvs/noots/bin:/home/liam/bin:/home/liam/.local/bin:/home/liam/bin:/home/liam/.local/bin:/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin:/usr/games:/usr/local/games:/snap/bin: No such file or directory

and yet when I actually run python it goes to /usr/bin/python

To make things more confusing to me, if I run python3.5 it grabs python3.5 from the correct directory (i.e. /home/liam/dev/.virtualenvs/noots/bin/python3.5)

I have not touched /home/liam/dev/.virtualenvs/noots/bin/ in anyway. python and python3.5 are still both linked to python3 in that directory. Traversing to /home/liam/dev/.virtualenvs/noots/bin/ and running ./python, ./python3 or ./python3.5 all work normally.

I am using virtualenvwrapper if that makes a difference, however the problem seemed to occur recently, long after install virtualenv and virtualenvwrapper


If you don’t get the program that which says you should get, you need to look higher up the chain than the platform executor. Shells typically have a way to alias commands and on most unixy shells you can just enter alias to see which commands have been remapped. Then its just a matter of going to the config files for your shell and removing the alias.

Sometimes people alias python to try to sort out which python they should be using. But there are usually other, better ways. On my linux machine, for example, python3 is in the path but is a symlink to the real python I am using.

[email protected] ~ $ which python3
[email protected] ~ $ ls -l /usr/bin/python3
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 Feb 17  2016 /usr/bin/python3 -> python3.4
[email protected] ~ $ 

This is nice because non-shell programs running python get the same one I do and virtual environments work naturally.

Answered By – tdelaney

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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