How to uninstall a package installed with pip install --user

There is a --user option for pip which can install a Python package per user:

    pip install --user [python-package-name]

I used this option to install a package on a server for which I do not have root access. What I need now is to uninstall the installed package on the current user. I tried to execute this command:

    pip uninstall --user [python-package-name]

But I got:

    no such option: --user

How can I uninstall a package that I installed with pip install --user, other than manually finding and deleting the package?

I've found this article

pip cannot uninstall from per-user site-packages directory

which describes that uninstalling packages from user directory does not supported. According to the article if it was implemented correctly then with

    pip uninstall [package-name]

the package that was installed will be also searched in user directories. But a problem still remains for me. What if the same package was installed both system-wide and per-user? What if someone needs to target a specific user directory?

Having tested this using Python 3.5 and pip 7.1.2 on Linux, the situation appears to be this:

  • pip install --user somepackage installs to $HOME/.local, and uninstalling it does work using pip uninstall somepackage.

  • This is true whether or not somepackage is also installed system-wide at the same time.

  • If the package is installed at both places, only the local one will be uninstalled. To uninstall the package system-wide using pip, first uninstall it locally, then run the same uninstall command again, with root privileges.

  • In addition to the predefined user install directory, pip install --target somedir somepackage will install the package into somedir. There is no way to uninstall a package from such a place using pip. (But there is a somewhat old unmerged pull request on Github that implements pip uninstall --target.)

  • Since the only places pip will ever uninstall from are system-wide and predefined user-local, you need to run pip uninstall as the respective user to uninstall from a given user's local install directory.


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