TensorFlow is a free and open-source platform for machine learning built by Google. It is used by a number of organizations including Twitter, PayPal, Intel, Lenovo, and Airbus.
TensorFlow can be installed system-wide, in a Python virtual environment, as a Docker container or with Anaconda. For learning purposes, it is best to install TensorFlow in a Python virtual environment. This way you can have multiple different isolated Python environments on a single computer and install a specific version of a module on a per project basis without worrying that it will affect your other Projects.
This tutorial describes how to install TensorFlow on Ubuntu 18.04.
Installing TensorFlow on Ubuntu 18.04
The following sections provide a step by step instructions about how to install TensorFlow in a Python virtual environment on Ubuntu 18.04.
1. Installing Python 3 and venv
Ubuntu 18.04 ships with Python 3.6 by default. You can verify that Python 3 is installed on your system by typing:
The output should look like this:
If you want to use Python 3.7 instead, check these guide.
Starting from Python 3.6, the recommended way to create a virtual environment is to use the
venv module. To install the
python3-venv package that provides the
venv module run the following command:
sudo apt install python3-venv
Once the module is installed we are ready to create a virtual environment for our TensorFlow project.
2. Creating a Virtual Environment
Start by navigating to the directory where you would like to store your Python 3 virtual environments. It can be your home directory or any other directory where your user has read and write permissions.
Once inside the directory, run the following command to create the virtual environment:
python3 -m venv venv
The command above creates a directory named
venv, which contains a copy of the Python binary, the Pip package manager, the standard Python library and other supporting files. You can use any name you want for the virtual environment.
To start using this virtual environment, you need to activate it by running the
Once activated, the virtual environment’s bin directory will be added at the beginning of the
$PATH variable. Also your shell’s prompt will change and it will show the name of the virtual environment you’re currently using. In this case that is
TensorFlow installation requires
pip version 19 or higher. Run the following command to upgrade
pip to the latest version:
pip install --upgrade pip
3. Installing TensorFlow
Now that the virtual environment is activated, it’s time to install the TensorFlow package.
pip install --upgrade tensorflow
If you have a dedicated NVIDIA GPU and want to take advantage of its processing power, instead of
tensorflow install the
tensorflow-gpu package which includes GPU support.
Within the virtual environment, you can use the command
pip instead of
python instead of
To verify the installation use the following command which will print the TensorFlow version:
python -c 'import tensorflow as tf; print(tf.__version__)'
At the time of writing this article, the latest stable version of TensorFlow is 2.0.0
Your TensorFlow version may differ from the version shown here.
If you are new to TensorFlow, visit the Get Started with TensorFlow page and learn how to build your first ML application. You can also clone the TensorFlow Models or TensorFlow-Examples repositories from Github and explore and test the TensorFlow examples.
Once you are done with your work, deactivate the environment, by typing
deactivate and you will return to your normal shell.
In this tutorial, we have shown you how to install TensorFlow on Ubuntu 18.04.
If you hit a problem or have feedback, leave a comment below.