Real Python Podcast Episode #156 Title Artwork

Episode 156: Virtual Environment Structure & Surveying the Packaging Ecosystem

The Real Python Podcast

May 12, 2023 1h 9m

How do Python virtual environments work under the hood? How does understanding these concepts help you with managing them for your projects? This week on the show, CPython core developer Brett Cannon returns to discuss his recent articles about virtual environments and the Python packaging landscape.

Brett talks about his recent article “How Virtual Environments Work.” He was researching the topic to solve an issue with a Linux Python distribution that doesn’t provide the tools to create virtual environments. We talk about how he solved the problem by creating a tiny library named microvenv.

We also take a look at the Python packaging ecosystem. Brett talks about the early days of Python, when these tools didn’t exist. He contrasts that with the current packaging solution explosion and how each one attempts to solve unique problems. We also discuss the Python Packaging User Survey and the plans for packaging summits at PyCon US. Note that we recorded this episode two weeks before PyCon US 2023.


  • 00:00:00 – Introduction
  • 00:01:58 – Virtual environments
  • 00:07:10 – PEP 704 & virtual environment workflows
  • 00:26:57 – Experimenting with not including pip
  • 00:34:44 – Video Course Spotlight
  • 00:36:35 – What are you using for packaging?
  • 00:43:32 – Python Packaging User Survey & the history of packaging
  • 00:48:40 – Packing only gets complex when it’s not pure Python code
  • 01:01:22 – Outcomes after the survey and the packaging summit
  • 01:03:56 – What are you excited about in the world of Python?
  • 01:05:28 – What’s something you want to learn next?
  • 01:07:12 – How can people follow the work that you do?
  • 01:08:14 – Thanks and goodbye

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