So I was having some trouble with python package incompatibilities. I was tired of troubleshooting and decided that I would remove all of the packages that I had installed using pip3. In an attempt to do this, I stupidly removed all files under the /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages directory using this command:

sudo rm -R /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/*

After doing this, I tried to use pip3 to reinstall the packages that I needed, but all of a sudden, the pip3 command would not work and instead display a lengthy error message. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling python3-pip and python-pip, but the error would not go away. At this point, I don't know what to do to fix pip3, so I would really appreciate any help with helping to understand the error message, and to fix the problem. Here is the error message that I get when I try to install any package using pip3 (I get the same error when I use pip as well):

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_internal/cli/base_command.py", line 143, in main
    status = self.run(options, args)
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_internal/commands/install.py", line 279, in run
    with self._build_session(options) as session:
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_internal/cli/base_command.py", line 79, in _build_session
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_internal/download.py", line 337, in __init__
    self.headers["User-Agent"] = user_agent()
  File "/usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip/_internal/download.py", line 100, in user_agent
    zip(["name", "version", "id"], distro.linux_distribution()),
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 120, in linux_distribution
    return _distro.linux_distribution(full_distribution_name)
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 675, in linux_distribution
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 735, in version
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 892, in lsb_release_attr
    return self._lsb_release_info.get(attribute, '')
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 550, in __get__
    ret = obj.__dict__[self._fname] = self._f(obj)
  File "/usr/share/python-wheels/distro-1.3.0-py2.py3-none-any.whl/distro.py", line 998, in _lsb_release_info
    stdout = subprocess.check_output(cmd, stderr=devnull)
  File "/usr/lib/python3.7/subprocess.py", line 395, in check_output
  File "/usr/lib/python3.7/subprocess.py", line 487, in run
    output=stdout, stderr=stderr)
subprocess.CalledProcessError: Command '('lsb_release', '-a')' returned non-zero exit status 1.`

Here are the results of running pip3 -V:

pip 18.1 from /usr/lib/python3/dist-packages/pip (python 3.7)

I don't know if that information would be useful, but I figured that I would include it. Once again, I would really appreciate any help in understanding the error and fixing the issue. Thanks for any responses in advance!

2 Answers 2


So I was able to fix the issue by uninstalling python and autoremoving and then reinstalling python:

sudo apt-get purge python python3 python-pip python3-pip

sudo apt autoremove

sudo apt-get install python python3 python-pip python3-pip

Unfortunately, I still don't know exactly what caused the issue, but this approach did solve the issue for me.

  • Please accept your own answer with a click on the tick on its left side. Only this will finish the question and it will not pop up again year for year.
    – Ingo
    Jun 24, 2020 at 14:09

You must reinstall everything that has connection with python2 and python3. This can fix your problem.

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