MIT SIPB Script Services for Athena

How can I install Python modules in my locker?

First, note that many Python modules are already installed on, and we’re generally pretty willing to install generally-useful software globally; email us at to ask. This has the advantage that you won’t have to worry about keeping the packages up to date; in some cases, using out-of-date modules could lead to security vulnerabilities in your site.

Sometimes, however, you may want to install a specific Python module from PyPI in your locker, say because you want to modify it or because you need a different version than what’s installed globally. This is pretty straight forward. First, you need to create the directory to install into and give permission to it. From an Athena prompt, do the following, where lockername is the name of your locker:

% add consult
% mkdir -p /mit/lockername/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/
% fsr sa /mit/lockername/.local/lib/python2.7/site-packages/ \
    daemon.scripts write

Then, to install a package, ssh into as your locker and run

$ easy_install --user -Z packagename

where packagename is the package you want to install. To upgrade something you already have installed, simply do:

$ easy_install --user -Z -U packagename

These packages will be automatically available to Python scripts you run on

Note that because the modules are tied to the minor version of Python they were built with, you will need to install the modules again if the system Python is upgraded. Be sure to add yourself to the scripts-announce mailing list so you will be notified about such transitions.

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