After installing Pillow, I get errors such as:

>>> from PIL import Image
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
  File "/home/pi/env/lib/python3.7/site-packages/PIL/Image.py", line 90, in <module>
    from . import _imaging as core
ImportError: libopenjp2.so.7: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

I could, one by one, find all these additional libraries required and install them individually, but it would much more convenient to have a canonical list or a single package that took care of them.

I though the python-pil system package would install all these, and it does, as well as Pillow itself, but Pillow installed via Pip - for example in a virtualenv, which I need - will not find the libraries that python3-pil includes.

Is there a more convenient way of installing these libraries?

  • Does pillow.readthedocs.io/en/stable/… help?
    – Dirk
    Oct 14, 2019 at 15:14
  • It sounds like you have installed software without using the package system (package system modules are tested for compatability).
    – joan
    Oct 14, 2019 at 15:24
  • The Pillow docs are useful and give some examples in the /depends section of the repository for system-level dependencies that will be required on various systems, but the closest match was (I think) Debian 8. Oct 14, 2019 at 16:36
  • I think it's critical to reframe this question as being inside a virtual environment. Otherwise, sudo apt install python3-pil will do the needful for most users.
    – scruss
    Oct 15, 2019 at 14:24
  • @scruss I don't think it is the virtual environment that makes the difference, but the installation of Pillow with Pip. However I would need to check. Oct 15, 2019 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


Did you install python3-pil? python-pil is for Python 2, which you aren't running.

It looks like the problem is more you're trying to open a JPEG-2000 image (… ImportError: libopenjp2.so.7: cannot open shared object file …). For reasons of mostly-obsolete dogma, JP2 support on Linux has been weak for many years. You may find that installing libopenjp2 fixes the problem:

sudo apt install libopenjp2-7 libopenjp2-7-dev libopenjp2-tools
  • docs suggest Pillow uses openjpeg, but your system was explicitly looking for libopenjp2
    – scruss
    Oct 14, 2019 at 15:49
  • Well-spotted regarding python3-pil, I missed that. However, having installed it, I still have the same result. I'm not trying yet to open any particular image - just from PIL import Image, in the example above, which appears to demand libopenjp2.so.7. From experience, once that's fixed, the next complaint will be about a TIFF library, and so on. Oct 14, 2019 at 16:39

I found the answer I was looking for.

In short, it's:

sudo apt install libwebp6 libtiff5 libjbig0 liblcms2-2 libwebpmux3 libopenjp2-7 libzstd1 libwebpdemux2

I found the list at https://www.piwheels.org/project/Pillow/.

Once I have those installed, Pillow seems to work as expected in my virtual environment.

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