A tweet reads:
Don't use easy_install, unless you like stabbing yourself in the face. Use pip.
Why use pip over easy_install? Doesn't the fault lie with PyPI and package authors mostly? If an author uploads crap source tarball (eg: missing files, no setup.py) to PyPI, then both pip and easy_install will fail. Other than cosmetic differences, why do Python people (like in the above tweet) seem to strongly favor pip over easy_install?
(Let's assume that we're talking about easy_install from the Distribute package, that is maintained by the community)
Many of the answers here are out of date for 2015 (although the initially accepted one from Daniel Roseman is not). Here's the current state of things:
.whlfiles)—not just on PyPI, but in third-party repositories like Christoph Gohlke's Extension Packages for Windows.
pipcan handle wheels;
virtualenv) have become a very important and prominent tool (and recommended in the official docs); they include
pipout of the box, but don't even work properly with
distributepackage that included
easy_installis no longer maintained. Its improvements over
setuptoolsgot merged back into
setuptools. Trying to install
distributewill just install
easy_installitself is only quasi-maintained.
pipused to be inferior to
easy_install—installing from an unpacked source tree, from a DVCS repo, etc.—are long-gone; you can
pip install .,
pip install git+https://.
pipcomes with the official Python 2.7 and 3.4+ packages from python.org, and a
pipbootstrap is included by default if you build from source.
pipas "the preferred installer program".
pipover the years that will never be in
easy_install. For example,
pipmakes it easy to clone your site-packages by building a requirements file and then installing it with a single command on each side. Or to convert your requirements file to a local repo to use for in-house development. And so on.
The only good reason that I know of to use
easy_install in 2015 is the special case of using Apple's pre-installed Python versions with OS X 10.5-10.8. Since 10.5, Apple has included
easy_install, but as of 10.10 they still don't include
pip. With 10.9+, you should still just use
get-pip.py, but for 10.5-10.8, this has some problems, so it's easier to
sudo easy_install pip. (In general,
easy_install pip is a bad idea; it's only for OS X 10.5-10.8 that you want to do this.) Also, 10.5-10.8 include
readline in a way that
easy_install knows how to kludge around but
pip doesn't, so you also want to
sudo easy_install readline if you want to upgrade that.
From Ian Bicking's own introduction to pip:
pip was originally written to improve on easy_install in the following ways
- All packages are downloaded before installation. Partially-completed installation doesn’t occur as a result.
- Care is taken to present useful output on the console.
- The reasons for actions are kept track of. For instance, if a package is being installed, pip keeps track of why that package was required.
- Error messages should be useful.
- The code is relatively concise and cohesive, making it easier to use programmatically.
- Packages don’t have to be installed as egg archives, they can be installed flat (while keeping the egg metadata).
- Native support for other version control systems (Git, Mercurial and Bazaar)
- Uninstallation of packages.
- Simple to define fixed sets of requirements and reliably reproduce a set of packages.