[Fixed]-Install pil on virtualenv with libjpeg


You should install the libraries that others recommended but most importantly you should tell PIL where to find them. Edit the setup.py so that

    JPEG_ROOT = None 


JPEG_ROOT = libinclude("/usr/lib") 

I found that the easiest way was to download the source with pip but not install:

 pip install --no-install PIL

edit the setup (inside the build directory of the virtual environment) and the install

 pip install PIL

you can find some more information in my blog

You can also try pillow which seems to do great job with little hassle (pip install pillow)


On Ubuntu precise, PIL doesn’t find the jpeg library files, even once they are installed. The easiest way to fix this is to make a symlink after you have installed the jpeg dev package.
So, I needed an extra step:

pip uninstall PIL
sudo apt-get install libjpeg8-dev
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libjpeg.so /usr/lib
pip install PIL


For Ubuntu 11.04, what finally worked for me is:

pip uninstall PIL
sudo apt-get install libjpeg8-dev
pip install PIL

The Python Imaging Library (PIL) seems really picky about version and location of the jpeg libraries. And because PIL is written in C and compiled, you need the development versions of the library in addition to the runtime versions.

The situation is so bad the community forked PIL to create a softer version: Pillow:



On OSX, I used the following binary to get libpng and libjpeg simultaneously installed systemwide:

libpng & libjpeg for OSX

Because I already had PIL installed (via pip on a virtualenv), I ran:

pip uninstall PIL
pip install PIL --upgrade

This resolved the decoder JPEG not available error for me.


You must install the libraries:

sudo aptitude install libjpeg62 libjpeg62-dev zlib1g-dev


if pip raises an error, try
easy_install PIL


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