Support Center / A warning about using pip and PyPI

A warning about using pip and PyPI

The Proton VPN Linux app and CLI use Python and rely on other Python software tools (dependencies) installed from official Linux distribution sources. 

Python allows you to install software from unofficial sources like PyPI using pip. But pip is a powerful tool that you should use very carefully.

When you install unofficial Python packages using pip, the newly-installed packages may override official Linux distribution packages. This can break other Python software that relies on them, including the Proton VPN app and CLI. It can also install malware.

You should exercise extreme caution using pip. We recommend you only use pip if you’re a tech-savvy user. 

Use a virtual environment

The best way to minimize the risks associated with pip is to install packages using pip in a virtual machine or a python virtual environment (venv). Doing this isolates the software you install so that it doesn’t affect your main Python installation. Malicious software can potentially still affect your system, even if you’re using a venv.

How do I uninstall packages installed using pip?

If you encounter problems on your Linux device after installing packages using pip (for example, if the Proton VPN Linux app doesn’t work correctly), you can try uninstalling the packages.

To do this, open a terminal window and use the following command:

python3 -m pip uninstall <package>

Or if the package was installed as root:

sudo python3 -m pip uninstall <package>

Full instructions with optional arguments can be found here. If all else fails, you may need to reformat your disk and reinstall Linux. This is why we strongly recommend installing packages using pip only in a virtual environment. 

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