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pyvenv can't install distribute with Python 3.3 #18728

SoftwareMaven opened this Issue Mar 25, 2013 · 3 comments


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Trying to install distribute inside of a virtualenv created with pyvenv gives an error:

Checking .pth file support in /usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/
/Users/travis/.virtualenvs/uln/bin/python3 -E -c pass
TEST FAILED: /usr/local/lib/python3.3/site-packages/ does NOT support .pth files
error: bad install directory or PYTHONPATH

You are attempting to install a package to a directory that is not
on PYTHONPATH and which Python does not read ".pth" files from. The
installation directory you specified (via --install-dir, --prefix, or
the distutils default setting) was:


and your PYTHONPATH environment variable currently contains:


Here are some of your options for correcting the problem:

  • You can choose a different installation directory, i.e., one that is
    on PYTHONPATH or supports .pth files

  • You can add the installation directory to the PYTHONPATH environment
    variable. (It must then also be on PYTHONPATH whenever you run
    Python and want to use the package(s) you are installing.)

  • You can set up the installation directory to support ".pth" files by
    using one of the approaches described here:

Please make the appropriate changes for your system and try again.

According to comments at, Macports and the distribution work.


adamv commented Mar 25, 2013

Please report the problem to pyenv.

@adamv adamv closed this Mar 25, 2013

Are problems with Formulae not supposed to be reported here?

On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 1:40 PM, Adam Vandenberg

Please report the problem to pyenv.

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub

Travis Jensen

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What kind of guy calls himself the Software Maven???

@adamv @SoftwareMaven

We should consider re-opening this bug. The issue is caused by a possible bug in Python that applies distutils.cfg settings to virtual environments created using venv. See the bug report here:

With that in mind, no one at the Python project has confirmed yet whether this is a bug or intended behavior. It seems to me that distutils.cfg settings can potentially cause a lot of unexpected behavior, and that perhaps we should explore a solution for homebrew that does not require shipping a distutils.cfg by default.

@xu-cheng xu-cheng locked and limited conversation to collaborators Feb 16, 2016

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