Install with lsstinstall and eups distrib

This page guides you through installing the LSST Science Pipelines software using the lsstinstall tool. This installation method is recommended for anyone who uses or develops the Pipelines software.

If you have issues with the installation, here are two ways to get help:

1. Prerequisites

The LSST Science Pipelines are developed and tested primarily on CentOS, but can be compiled and run on macOS, Debian, Ubuntu, and other Linux distributions. See Platform compatibility for information about LSST’s official reference platform and build reports with other platforms, and follow the instructions under System prerequisites to ensure you have installed the prerequisite software for your platform.

2. Make an installation directory

Create a directory where you want to install the LSST Science Pipelines into. For example:

mkdir -p lsst_stack
cd lsst_stack

If you are installing the software for multiple users (a shared stack), see Setting unix permissions for shared installations.

3. Run lsstinstall

Run lsstinstall to set up the environment you’ll install the LSST Science Pipelines into. For most use cases we recommend downloading and running lsstinstall like this:

curl -OL
chmod u+x lsstinstall
./lsstinstall -T v26_0_0

The -T option specifies the eups tag associated with the release you would like to install.

Then load the LSST software environment into your shell:


To customize the conda environment used, set the LSST_CONDA_ENV_NAME environment variable to a conda enviroment name when sourcing the file. For other conda environments installed by LSST tools, this name will be the rubin-env metapackage version prefixed with lsst-scipipe-.


Here are ways to customize the lsstinstall installation for specific needs:

For background information about lsstinstall, see:

To find the rubin-env conda metapackage version appropriate for a particular science pipelines release, see Release History or the release tag files at ``_.

4. Install Science Pipelines packages

The LSST Science Pipelines is distributed as the lsst_distrib EUPS package. Install the current version, v26_0_0:

eups distrib install -t v26_0_0 lsst_distrib
curl -sSL | python
setup lsst_distrib

If prebuilt binaries are available for your platform (and you did not specify the -B argument to the lsstinstall command) the installation should take roughly 10 minutes. Otherwise, the installation falls back to a source build that can take two hours, depending on the top-level package and your machine’s performance. See How to determine if tarball packages are available for your platform.

The last command, setup, activates the installed packages in your shell environment. You’ll need to run setup in each shell session you’ll use the LSST Science Pipelines in. See Setting up installed LSST Science Pipelines for more information.


5. Test your installation (optional)

Once the LSST Science Pipelines are installed, you can verify that it works by running a demo pipeline.

See Testing the Science Pipelines installation with a demo for instructions.

Next steps

Now that you have a working LSST Science Pipelines installation, these topics will help you learn and do more:

Advanced installation topics

The above steps guided you through LSST’s recommended installation. These topics provide additional information about the installation and ways to customize it:

Setting unix permissions for shared installations

You can make a single LSST Science Pipelines installation accessible to multiple users on the same machine.

First, create a separate unix group (called lsst, for example) with a umask of 002 (all access permissions for the group and allow other users to read/execute).

Then set the ownership of the installation directory to the lsst group, have the SGID (2000) bit set, and allow group read/write/execute (mode 2775).

After installing the conda environment, make sure to remove write permissions from the conda/pkgs/urls* files in the base conda installation. If these files are writable, conda will attempt to record user environment information in the shared installation.

chmod go-w ${CONDA_EXE%bin/conda}/pkgs/urls*

Making them unwritable may lead to spurious libmamba error messages when creating user environments, but these do not affect the installation.

What lsstinstall does

lsstinstall creates a self-contained environment on your machine where you can install, run, and develop the LSST Science Pipelines. You activate this environment in a shell by sourcing the script in the installation directory (see Setting up).

Here is how lsstinstall prepares the environment:

  • Identifies your operating system to determine what EUPS binary packages should be installed (the EUPS package root, see About EUPS tarball packages).

  • Activates conda, installing it from Mambaforge if needed.

  • Creates or updates a conda environment with conda packages that the LSST Science Pipelines depend on (see System prerequisites), including EUPS, the package manager used by the LSST software stack.

For information about lsstinstall’s arguments, see lsstinstall argument reference.

About the Mambaforge Python installed by lsstinstall

lsstinstall by default installs a conda package manager based on Mambaforge, a minimal version of Anaconda preconfigured to use packages from the curated conda-forge channel along with the mamba fast dependency solver. This Python installation isn’t required, but we recommend it. See How to use your own conda with lsstinstall if you would like to use your own pre-existing conda (but conda is required).

conda can maintain multiple environments, each with its own version of Python and other packages. lsstinstall will create one for each version of the Science Pipelines dependencies (currently managed by the rubin-env metapackage). This includes the compilers and build tools as well as C++ and Python packages needed by the software. You can add install other packages into a Science Pipelines environment, or you can create independent environments composed of other packages or cloned from a Science Pipelines environment.

This Mambaforge installation won’t affect your other Python installations (like the system’s Python, your own Anaconda or Miniconda, or virtual environments). The LSST Miniconda environment is only active when you source the loadLSST script installed by lsstinstall (see Setting up installed LSST Science Pipelines).

If you install other Python packages in a shell where the LSST Mambaforge is activated (with pip install or conda install) those packages are installed into the LSST Mambaforge’s site-packages, not your system’s.

How to use your own conda with lsstinstall

lsstinstall installs a new conda based on Mambaforge by default. If desired, you can use your own pre-existing conda installation.

To do so, either have that conda activated when you run lsstinstall, or provide the -p option to lsstinstall pointing to the conda installation’s prefix. Having mamba installed in the base environment is recommended for faster dependency solves.

A Science Pipelines environment will still be created (unless you already have one).

About the rubin-env metapackage

The conda environment created by lsstinstall is based on the rubin-env conda metapackage. Each release of the LSST Science Pipelines is built with a particular rubin-env version. A given rubin-env version is typically used to build many releases (daily, weekly, and sometimes major) of the Science Pipelines, and a given release of the Science Pipelines source is often compatible with more than one rubin-env version.

Note that a given rubin-env version does not itself exactly specify all versions of its dependencies. We typically allow dependency versions to “float” to more recent updates in order to allow greater compatibility with user-installed packages and to pick up bug fixes. We only restrict these updates if newer versions cause incompatibilities with the Science Pipelines source code. This means that one user’s installation of a given rubin-env version may be different from another’s. To assist with debugging, you may be asked to list the installed dependency versions with the conda env export command. In production, the dependencies are frozen at the versions that were tested when the docker containers were built.

You choose the version of the dependencies with the lsstinstall arguments -T (to match the version used to build a particular tag of the Science Pipelines), -X (to use the exact packages used for that tag’s build, not allowing any to float to more recent updates), or -v (to specify a particular version manually).

You can update the versions of the rubin-env dependencies to the latest compatible ones for the rubin-env version specified by using lsstinstall with the -u option.

About the rubin-env-developer metapackage

The rubin-env-developer metapackage adds tools and utilities that are useful for developers working on improving the LSST Science Pipelines but not necessarily for users processing data with them. It can be installed on top of the rubin-env installation performed by lsstinstall by specifying the -d option.

Only rubin-env versions 5.0.0 and greater can use this option.

About EUPS tarball packages

EUPS distrib binary (tarball) packages significantly speed up your installation. Rather than compiling the LSST Science Pipelines from source, EUPS tarballs are prebuilt packages made specifically for supported platforms.

Platforms are defined by two factors:

  1. Operating system.

  2. rubin-env metapackage (Science Pipelines dependencies) version.

When you run lsstinstall, it looks at your system to identify your operating system.

See About the rubin-env metapackage for more about the rubin-env metapackage and how to select its version. The EUPS packages that make up the Science Pipelines are installed within that environment, as they are only binary-compatible with its conda packages and tools. The URLs used to retrieve EUPS packages are also stored within the environment in $EUPS_PATH/pkgroot. will automatically read this file to enable proper use of eups distrib install by setting the EUPS_PKGROOT environment variable. Note that activating (or deactivating) conda environments does not automatically set this variable.

See also:

How to determine if tarball packages are available for your platform

When you run eups distrib install, it will attempt to install prebuilt binary packages first and fall back to compiling the Science Pipelines if binary packages aren’t available for your platform (by default). This fallback is automatic. You’ll know packages are being compiled from source if you see compiler processes (like gcc or clang) load your machine.

The instructions in this section will help you diagnose why eups distrib install is falling back to a source installation.

First, get your EUPS package root URLs:

eups distrib path

If the only URL listed is, it means that lsstinstall configured your environment to not use binary packages. Try re-running lsstinstall (see 3. Run lsstinstall) without the -B argument, and check to make sure that your computing platform is supported for binary packages (currently Linux Intel and macOS Intel only).

If eups distrib path includes an additional URL that doesn’t end with /src (for example,, it means lsstinstall has configured a binary package root. The construction of the binary package root URL is based on your OS and rubin-env version (see About EUPS tarball packages).

eups distrib install will only install binary packages if they exist on the binary package root. To check this, open the binary package root URL in a web browser. If the binary package root URL does not load in a browser it means LSST does not publish prebuilt binaries for your platform. Either continue the installation from source or consider using the LSST Docker images.

If the URL does open, though, search for files with a .list extension. A .list file is created for each release that has binary packages. The name of the .list file matches the release tag (for example, w_2017_33.list). See Installing other releases (including daily and weekly tags) for more information about tags.

For example, if the binary package root is and you wish to install the w_2021_33 tag, the file must exist for a binary installation.

If the .list file does not exist for the tag you want to install, but does exist for other tags in that EUPS package root, it may be due to an issue with the LSST binary package publishing system. You can either continue with an installation from source, consider switching to a tag that is known to have binary packages, or consider using LSST’s Docker images.

EUPS tarball packages and compiler compatibility

EUPS binary tarball packages are prebuilt on LSST’s continuous integration servers for a specific combination of operating system, compilers, Python, and Python dependencies. The compilers and other linked dependencies are provided by conda-forge. Compatibility with other compilers is not guaranteed. Using a non-conda-forge compiler toolchain requires that the binary interface be the same as that used by the conda-forge toolchain.

Installing other releases (including daily and weekly tags)

The instructions on this page guide you through installing the current release of the LSST Science Pipelines corresponding to this documentation. You can, however, install other releases by running lsstinstall -T <TAG> and eups distrib install -t <TAG> with a different tag.

Running lsstinstall -T <TAG> creates the appropriate conda environment for the Science Pipelines if it doesn’t already exist. If you have more than one environment in a given installation, you can select between them by setting the LSST_CONDA_ENV_NAME environment variable before sourcing You can then select between versions of the Science Pipelines within the same environment using setup -T <TAG>.

The common types of tags are:

  • Major releases, tagged as v<MAJOR>_<MINOR>_<PATCH> (for example, v14_0).

  • Weekly builds, tagged as w_<YEAR>_<N> (for example, w_2017_33 is the 33rd weekly build in 2017).

  • Daily builds, tagged as d_<YEAR>_<MONTH>_<DAY> (for example, d_2017_09_01 is the daily build for September 1, 2017).

There are also tags pointing to the most recent releases:

  • Current major release, tagged as current.

  • Current weekly build, tagged as w_latest.

  • Current daily build, tagged as d_latest.

You can see all available tags at (each tag has a .list file).


Binary installations may not be available for all tags. From, browse subdirectories corresponding to your platform and look for .list files of available tags. eups distrib install automatically falls back to a source build if binaries are not available.

lsstinstall argument reference

usage: lsstinstall [-n]
    [-e ENV_NAME] [-u] [-d]
    [-p CONDA_PATH] [-P] [-C CHANNEL]
    [-E EUPS_URL]
    [-B] [-S]

No-op. Echo commands instead of running.


Select the rubin-env version used to build the given EUPS_TAG.


Select the exact environment used to build the given EUPS_TAG.


Select a particular rubin-env version (default=latest).


Specify the environment name to use; if it exists, assume that it is compatible and should be used.


Update rubin-env in an existing environment to the latest build.


Add a compatible rubin-env-developer to rubin-env (5.0.0 and later).


Specify the path to the conda installation. If a conda installation already exists there, it will be used. If it does not exist, it will be created. If a conda is activated, it will be used, ignoring this option.


DO NOT use an existing activated conda; always install a new one.


Use the given conda channel before the conda-forge channel. May be repeated; first has highest priority. Useful primarily for testing new rubin-env versions in the dev channel.


Select a different EUPS distribution server root URL (default=````).


DO NOT use binary “tarball” eups packages.


DO NOT use source eups packages.


Ignored for backward compatibility.


Ignored for backward compatibility.


Ignored for backward compatibility.


Display a help message.