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Why are useful command line options in pip undocumented and explicitly hidden? #2429

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musically-ut opened this Issue Feb 18, 2015 · 3 comments

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@musically-ut

musically-ut commented Feb 18, 2015

I use export PIP_REQUIRE_VIRTUALENV=true; in my .bashrc to ensure that I do not accidentally pollute my global env while installing packages for the various projects I work on.

I vaguely remembered that this was the same as adding a --require-virtualenv to the command line while invoking pip.

However, I was unable to find any documentation for this anywhere except in the source code, where help for the feature is explicitly suppressed (using SUPRESS_HELP)! There are 11 such options for which the help has also been explicitly disabled (e.g. --no-input).

I look through the history of the file, but did not find any mention of why the feature was hidden in the commit messages.

Is this an experimental feature which should not be relied upon? Should I not use (nor encourage others to use) these features or is there a different way of using these features? Could someone please shine some light on this conundrum?


This is a question which I had previously posted on StackOverflow hoping that there was an explanation along the lines that these options were only to be used if pip was invoked from other dependency management software.

However, that doesn't seem to be case, or at least it isn't common knowledge.

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remram44 Mar 31, 2015

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+1, it's hard to defend hiding recognized command-line flags, but useful ones it's just stupid. SUPPRESS_HELP is meant for internal or otherwise-documented options, not to filter what you feel people should read about elsewhere.

Relevant code: cmdoptions.py

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remram44 commented Mar 31, 2015

+1, it's hard to defend hiding recognized command-line flags, but useful ones it's just stupid. SUPPRESS_HELP is meant for internal or otherwise-documented options, not to filter what you feel people should read about elsewhere.

Relevant code: cmdoptions.py

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keitherskine Dec 30, 2015

At the very least, please give guidance about whether these command options are still valid or are deprecated. Not documenting them at all just leaves them in limbo, and causes confusion for the users.

keitherskine commented Dec 30, 2015

At the very least, please give guidance about whether these command options are still valid or are deprecated. Not documenting them at all just leaves them in limbo, and causes confusion for the users.

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justinmayer Apr 15, 2017

I fully agree that these extremely useful options should be documented. They were documented previously at the following, now-defunct location: http://www.pip-installer.org/en/latest/other-tools.html#using-pip-with-virtualenv

justinmayer commented Apr 15, 2017

I fully agree that these extremely useful options should be documented. They were documented previously at the following, now-defunct location: http://www.pip-installer.org/en/latest/other-tools.html#using-pip-with-virtualenv

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