If you have ever been stuck as a user on an out-of-date cluster without root access it can be frustrating to ask the admin guy to install packages for you. Even if they respond, by the time they get round to it you might have moved onto something else. The moment could be gone.
Luckily, as far as Python is concerned, the pyenv project allows users to install their own local Python version or even assign different versions to different directories/projects.
João Moreira has written a great beginner’s guide on the Amaral Lab homepage in order to get started. I now have the latest version of Python 2 (v2.7.12) installed along with essential packages like Scipy and Pandas, which I added using pip.
Installation of pyenv is easy.
curl -L https://raw.githubusercontent.com/yyuu/pyenv-installer/master/bin/pyenv-installer | bash
Different versions of python can then be installed with
pyenv install 3.4.0
Switching your global Python version is then as simple as typing
pyenv global 3.4.0
From first impressions I can say I highly recommend pyenv, and will continue to learn about it over the coming days through using it. Please refer to João’s excellent post for more details.