I’ve been struggling to install a portable/relocatable virtualenv with PySide 1.2.2 for Python 2.7. On Windows, this works out of the box but it’s more difficult on Linux and OS X, although I came up with a patch for OS X. This guide will not go into detail on portability/relocatability and will merely touch upon how to get started with PySide in a virtualenv. It looks like PySide 1.2.3 will have substantial changes which will allow for easier portability/relocatability and I will make a post on that as soon as it is generally available.

Ubuntu 14.04 (trusty) prerequisites

sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake libqt4-dev libxml2-dev libxslt1-dev python-dev qtmobility-dev python-pip

CentOS 7 prerequisites

sudo yum install epel-release
sudo yum install cmake qt-devel qt-webkit-devel libxml2-devel libxslt-devel python-devel rpmdevtools gcc gcc-c++ make python-pip
sudo ln -s /usr/bin/qmake-qt4 /usr/bin/qmake

Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) prerequisites

According to the OS X PySide Buildscripts instructions, you need cmake and libxml2 and Qt. If you don’t already have those installed, the easiest way to get them installed is via brew:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"
brew install cmake libxml2 qt4

The OS X PySide Buildscripts README also says you need to install Xcode manually. And then, finally, install pip:

curl -O https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py
sudo python get-pip.py

Windows 7 & 10 prerequisites

Download the get-pip.py file and then execute it to install pip:

python get-pip.py

Installing PySide into a virtualenv using pip

Install, create and activate a virtualenv called “myVirtualEnv” as well as install PySide using pip:

Linux / OS X
sudo pip install virtualenv
virtualenv myVirtualEnv
source myVirtualEnv/bin/activate
sudo myVirtualEnv/bin/pip install PySide

Please note, this could take several minutes on Linux.

pip install virtualenv
virtualenv myVirtualEnv
myVirtualEnv/Scripts/pip install PySide


Open the virtualenv’s Python command prompt:

myVirtualEnv/bin/python #Linux/OS X
myVirtualEnv/Scripts/python.exe #Windows

In the Python prompt, attempt to import QtGui from PySide:

Python 2.7.6 (default, Jun 22 2015, 17:58:13)
[GCC 4.8.2] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> from PySide import QtGui

If you don’t see any errors, you should be all good.

To leave the virtualenv:


If you wish to be able to move your virtualenv around, you may also want to make sure the symlinks created on OS X are made into actual files.

Check for any symlinks:

find myVirtualenv -type l -ls

So, if you get a list of files back, you may to “convert” those symlinks into actual files. The easiest way to do this is to simply make a copy of the virtualenv folder, and add some options which will copy the actual files rather than maintain the symlinks:

cp -vRLp myVirtualenv myVirtualenvNoSymlinks

If you’ve got input on improvements or on how to achieve this on other platforms/distros, please let me know via the comments below!