With pip installed, I am trying to install matplotlib in Ubuntu 12.04.4 LTS. I got the following error when executing "sudo pip install matplotlib" enter image description here

I guess this is because the python version is too old (2.7.3), So I follow this discussion, How to install the latest Python version on Debian separately or upgrade?, to build the latest 2.7.11 in /opt/python/.

My question is how to specify the newer version of python when installing matplotlib through pip?

Or should I just use "easy_install", which is not recommended by other people?

Thank you for precious time on my question.

2 Answers 2


Pip is bundled with Python 2.7.11 (they started adding it in 2.7.9 and 3.4), so you can use an included module to generate a short pip script:

$ /opt/python/bin/python -m ensurepip

That will make /opt/python/bin/pip, which has a shebang line pointing at /opt/python/bin/python, so you can run it when you want a pip that's associated with that particular Python installation.

If you're running an older Python, you can download get-pip.py and pass it to the Python you want to install it under:

$ wget 'https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py'
$ /opt/python/bin/python ./get-pip.py

This will generate the same pip scripts. See the pip documentation for more information


Using the following worked for me:

sudo apt-get install python-matplotlib

The following page also has more information about installing matplotlib.

  • That works for this particular case, but the question is how to control which version of Python is used when running pip Jan 14, 2016 at 6:29
  • -1 because you just state another way without giving an answer why it works, what it does, what the difference is (yes, there is a huge difference between the two approaches)
    – Mayou36
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:32

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