12 Reasons to Choose Conda

Jannis Leidel

If you’re diving into the world of data science, machine learning, or scientific computing, managing dependencies and creating isolated environments is essential. This is where conda shines.

Conda is a popular package and environment management system that offers a range of benefits compared to other solutions like pip, virtualenv, and system-level package managers. Here are 12 reasons why you might choose conda over other options.

  1. Governance: Conda is a community-supported open-source project, governed by a multi-stakeholder organization and fiscally sponsored by the NumFOCUS non-profit organization. With the Conda Steering Council as its governing body, conda is catering to its user and community growth. Together with other contributing members of the conda organization, Anaconda helps ensure conda is sustainably maintained over the long-term.
  1. Extensibility: Conda is extensible with a growing plugin API, making it possible for users and developers to extend it with additional tools and workflows. This is possible due to its stable, dependable code base, which supports the majority of use cases.
  1. Cross-platform compatibility: Conda is platform-agnostic, making it a perfect choice for multi-platform development. It works seamlessly across Windows, macOS, and Linux, ensuring consistent package management regardless of the operating system.
  1. Package management: Conda’s package management system is robust and versatile. It supports not only Python packages but also packages written in other languages, such as R and C++. This makes it an excellent tool for projects that require a mix of languages or depend on non-Python libraries.
  1. Binary distribution: Conda offers pre-compiled binary packages, which means you can skip the compilation step during installation. This saves time and eliminates the need for development tools on your system.
  1. Conda environments: Environment isolation is a breeze with conda. You can create isolated environments that contain specific versions of Python and all the required dependencies. This prevents conflicts between packages and ensures that your projects are reproducible.
  1. Advanced, exact dependency resolution: Conda handles complex dependency graphs effectively. It can resolve conflicts between packages and create an environment where all dependencies coexist without conflict. This is particularly important for projects with numerous interdependent libraries.
  1. Conda-forge: Conda-forge is a community-maintained repository of conda packages that are not available in Anaconda’s repositories, making it a resource for niche libraries and tools.
  1. Version management: Conda simplifies version management of both packages and Python itself. You can specify exact versions or ranges of versions, allowing you to balance stability and access to new features.
  1. Simplicity in environment replication: Sharing and replicating environments is effortless with conda. You can export environment configurations to a YAML file, making it easy to recreate the same environment on different machines.
  1. Conda’s virtual environments: Conda combines environment and package management, eliminating the need for separate tools like virtualenv and pip. This streamlines your workflow and reduces potential compatibility issues.
  1. Data science and scientific computing: Conda excels in the data science and scientific computing domains. Its support for packages like NumPy, SciPy, pandas, and scikit-learn, along with its ability to manage complex dependencies, makes it a preferred choice in these fields.

Conda’s combination of platform flexibility, robust package management, dependency resolution, extensibility, and environment isolation makes it a compelling choice for projects that demand efficiency, reliability, and ease of use. While other tools have their strengths, conda’s comprehensive feature set positions it as a powerful ally for developers, data scientists, and researchers alike. To learn more about using conda and common questions asked about using it, check out our blog article, Is conda free?

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