Installing GCPy


GCPy is currently supported for Linux and MacOS operating systems. Due to a reliance on several packages without Windows support, GCPy is not currently supported for Windows. You will receive an error message if you attempt to use GCPy on Windows.


Windows 11 (and some later builds of Windows 10) support the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). If your Windows version is WSL-compatible, you can install GCPy into a Linux instance (such as Ubuntu 22.04) running under Windows. At present, this is the only way to use GCPy locally on a Windows computer.

The only essential software you need before installing GCPy is a distribution of the Conda package manager. This is used to create a Python environment for GCPy containing all of its software dependences, including what version of Python you use. You must using GCPy with Python version 3.9.

You can check if you already have Conda installed by running the following command:

$ conda --version


You must use Conda 4.12.0 or earlier to install GCPy and its dependencies. Newer versions of Conda than this will install Python package versions that are incompatible with GCPy. See Installing Conda 4.12.0 with Miniconda below.

In the future we hope to be able to resolve this installation issue so that you can use the latest Conda version.

If Conda is not already installed, you must use Miniconda to install Conda 4.12.0. Miniconda is a minimal installer for Conda that generally includes many fewer packages in the base environment than are available for download. This provides a lightweight Conda installation from which you can create custom Python environments with whatever Python packages you wish to use, including an environment with GCPy dependencies.

Steps to install Conda 4.12.0 with Miniconda

If you already have a Conda version prior to 4.12.0 installed on your system, you may skip this step and proceed to the section entitled Steps to install GCPy and its dependencies.

If you need to install Conda 4.12.0, follow these steps:

  1. Download the Miniconda installer script for your operating system as shown below. The script will install Conda version 4.12.0 using Python 3.9.

    Linux (x86_64 CPUs)

    $ wget

    MacOS (M1 CPUs)

    $ wget

    MacOS (x86_64 CPUs)

    $ wget


    If you do not have wget installed on MacOS, you can download it with the Homebrew package manager:

    $ brew install wget

    In the steps that follow, we will walk through installation using the Linux installer script. The steps are the same for MacOS; just substitute the appropriate MacOS script name for the Linux script name in steps 2 and 3 below.

  2. Change the permission of the Miniconda installer script so that it is executable:

    $ chmod 755

  3. Run the Miniconda installer script.

    $ ./

  4. Accept the license agreement.

    When the installer script starts, you will be prompted to accept the Miniconda license agreement:

    Welcome to Miniconda3 py39_4.12.0
    In order to continue the installation process, please review the license
    Please, press ENTER to continue

    When you press ENTER, you will see the license agreement in all of its gory legalese detail. Press the space bar repeatedly to scroll down ot the end. You will then see this prompt:

    Do you accept the license terms? [yes|no]
    [no] >>>

    Type yes and hit ENTER to accept.

  5. Specify the installation path.

    You will then be prompted to provide a directory path for the installation:

    Miniconda3 will now be installed into this location:
    - Press ENTER to confirm the location
    - Press CTRL-C to abort the installation
    - Or specify a different location below
    [/home/YOUR-USERNAME/miniconda3] >>>

    Press ENTER to continue, or specify a new path and then press ENTER.


    If a previous Conda installation is already installed to the default path, you may choose to delete the previous installation folder, or install Conda 4.12.0 to a different path.

    The script will then start installing the Conda 4.12.0 package manager.

  6. Specify post-installation options.

    You will see this text at the bottom of the screen printout upon successful installation:

    Preparing transaction: done
    Executing transaction: done
    installation finished.
    Do you wish the installer to initialize Miniconda3
    by running conda init? [yes|no]
    [no] >>>

    Type yes and press ENTER. You will see output similar to this:

    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/condabin/conda
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/bin/conda
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/bin/conda-env
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/bin/activate
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/bin/deactivate
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/etc/profile.d/
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/etc/fish/conf.d/
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/shell/condabin/Conda.psm1
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/shell/condabin/conda-hook.ps1
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/lib/python3.9/site-packages/xontrib/conda.xsh
    no change     /home/bob/miniconda3/etc/profile.d/conda.csh
    no change     /home/bob/.bashrc
    No action taken.
    If you'd prefer that conda's base environment not be activated on startup,
       set the auto_activate_base parameter to false:
    conda config --set auto_activate_base false
    Thank you for installing Miniconda3!

  7. Disable the base Conda environment from being activated at startup

    Close the terminal window that you used to install Conda 4.12.0 and open a new terminal window. You will see this prompt:

    (base) $

    By default, Conda will open the base environment each time that you open a new terminal window. to disable this behavior, type:

    (base) $ conda config --set auto_activate_base false

    The next time you open a terminal window, you will just see the regular prompt, such as;


    (or whatever you have defined your prompt to be in your startup scripts).

Now that you have installed Conda 4.12.0, you may proceed to creating a new Conda environment for GCPy, as shown below.

Steps to install GCPy and its dependencies

  1. Install Conda if it is not already installed.

    If Conda 4.12.0 or prior is already installed on your system, you may skip this step. Otherwise, please follow the instructions listed in Steps to install Conda 4.12.0 with Miniconda.

  2. Download the GCPy source code.

    Create and go to the directory in which you would like to store GCPy. In this example we will store GCPy in a python/packages subdirectory in your home directory, but you can store it wherever you wish. You can also name the GCPy download whatever you want. In this example the GCPy directory is called GCPy.

    $ cd $HOME/python/packages
    $ git clone GCPy
    $ cd GCPy

  3. Create a new Python virtual environment for GCPy.

    A Python virtual environment is a named set of Python installs, e.g. packages, that are independent of other virtual environments. Using an environment dedicated to GCPy is useful to maintain a set of package dependencies compatible with GCPy without interfering with Python packages you use for other work. You can create a Python virtual environment from anywhere on your system. It will be stored in your Conda installation rather than the directory from which you create it.

    You can create a Python virtual environment using a file that lists all packages and their versions to be included in the environment. GCPy includes such as file, environment.yml, located in the top-level directory of the package.

    Run the following command at the command prompt to create a virtual environment for use with GCPy. You can name environment whatever you wish. This example names it gcpy_env.

    $ conda env create -n gcpy_env --file=environment.yml

    Once successfully created you can load the environment by running the following command, specifying the name of your environment.

    $ conda activate gcpy_env

    To exit the environment do the following:

    $ conda deactivate

  4. Add GCPy to Python path.

    The environment variable PYTHONPATH specifies the locations of Python libraries on your system that are not included in your conda environment. If GCPy is included in PYTHONPATH then Python will recognize its existence when you try to use. Add the following line to your startup script, e.g. .bashrc, and edit the path to where you are storing GCPy.


  5. Perform a simple test.

    Run the following commands in your terminal to check if the installation was succcesful.

    $ source $HOME/.bashrc     # Alternatively close and reopen your terminal
    $ echo $PYTHONPATH         # Check it contains path to your GCPy clone
    $ conda activate gcpy_env
    $ conda list               # Check it contains contents of gcpy env file
    $ python
    >>> import gcpy

If no error messages are displayed, you have successfully installed GCPy and its dependencies.

Upgrading GCPy versions

Sometimes the GCPy dependency list changes with a new GCPy version, either through the addition of new packages or a change in the minimum version. You can always update to the latest GCPy version from within you GCPy clone, and then update your virtual environment using the environment.yml file included in the package.

Run the following commands to update both your GCPy version to the latest available.

$ cd $HOME/python/packages/GCPy
$ git fetch -p
$ git checkout main
$ git pull

You can also checkout an older version by doing the following:

$ cd $HOME/python/packages/GCPy
$ git fetch -p
$ git tag
$ git checkout tags/version_you_want

Once you have the version you wish you use you can do the following commands to then update your virtual environment:

$ source activate gcpy_env
$ cd $HOME/python/packages/GCPy
$ conda env update --file environment.yml --prune