Micromamba is a small, pure-C++ executable with enough functionalities to bootstrap fully functional conda-environments. Currently, given micromamba’s early stage, it’s main usage is in continous integration pipelines: since it’s a single executable, based on mamba, it bootstraps fast.


Note that micromamba is still in early development and not considered ready-for-general-usage yet! It has been used with great succes in CI systems, though, and we encourage this usage.


micromamba works in the bash & zsh shell on Linux & OS X. It’s completely statically linked, which allows you to drop it in some place and just execute it.

Note: it’s advised to use micromamba in containers & CI only.

Download and unzip the executable (from the official conda-forge package):

Linux / Basic Usage

Ensure that basic utilities are installed. We need wget and tar with support for bzip2. Also you need a glibc based system like Ubuntu, Fedora or Centos (Alpine Linux does not work natively).

The following magic URL always returns the latest available version of micromamba, and the bin/micromamba part is automatically extracted using tar.

wget -qO- https://micro.mamba.pm/api/micromamba/linux-64/latest | tar -xvj bin/micromamba


Additional builds are available for linux-aarch64 (ARM64) and linux-ppc64le. Just modify linux-64 in the URL above to match the desired architecture.

After extraction is completed, we can use the micromamba binary.

If you want to quickly use micromamba in an ad-hoc usecase, you can run

export MAMBA_ROOT_PREFIX=/some/prefix  # optional, defaults to ~/micromamba
eval "$(./bin/micromamba shell hook -s posix)"

This shell hook modifies your shell variables to include the micromamba command.

If you want to persist these changes, you can automatically write them to your .bashrc (or .zshrc) by running ./micromamba shell init ... . This also allows you to choose a custom MAMBA_ROOT_ENVIRONMENT, which is where the packages and repodata cache will live.

./bin/micromamba shell init -s bash -p ~/micromamba  # this writes to your .bashrc file
# sourcing the bashrc file incorporates the changes into the running session.
# better yet, restart your terminal!
source ~/.bashrc

Now you can activate the base environment and install new packages, or create other environments.

micromamba activate  # this activates the base environment
micromamba install python=3.6 jupyter -c conda-forge
# or
micromamba create -n new_prefix xtensor -c conda-forge
micromamba activate new_prefix


Micromamba has OS X support as well. Instructions are largely the same:

curl -Ls https://micro.mamba.pm/api/micromamba/osx-64/latest | tar -xvj bin/micromamba
mv bin/micromamba ./micromamba

# directly execute the hook
eval "$(./bin/micromamba shell hook -s posix)"

# ... or shell init
./micromamba shell init -s zsh -p ~/micromamba
source ~/.zshrc
micromamba activate
micromamba install python=3.6 jupyter -c conda-forge


Micromamba also has Windows support! For Windows, we recommend powershell. Below are the commands to get micromamba installed in PowerShell.

Invoke-Webrequest -URI https://micro.mamba.pm/api/micromamba/win-64/latest -OutFile micromamba.tar.bz2
C:\PROGRA~1\7-Zip\7z.exe x micromamba.tar.bz2 -aoa
C:\PROGRA~1\7-Zip\7z.exe x micromamba.tar -ttar -aoa -r Library\bin\micromamba.exe

MOVE -Force Library\bin\micromamba.exe micromamba.exe
.\micromamba.exe --help

# You can use e.g. $HOME\micromambaenv as your base prefix

# Invoke the hook
.\micromamba.exe shell hook -s powershell | Out-String | Invoke-Expression

# ... or initialize the shell
.\micromamba.exe shell init -s powershell -p C:\Your\Root\Prefix
# and use micromamba directly
micromamba create -f ./test/env_win.yaml -y
micromamba activate ...

Available commands

Micromamba supports a subset of all conda commands and implements a command line interface from scratch. You can see all implemented commands with micromamba --help:

$ micromamba --help

  activate                    Activate a conda / micromamba environment
  deactivate                  Deactivate a conda / micromamba environment
  shell                       Generate shell init scripts
  create                      Create new environment
  install                     Install packages in active environment
  remove                      Remove packages from active environment
  list                        List packages in active environment
  constructor                 Commands to support using micromamba in constructor

To activate an environment just call micromamba activate /path/to/env or, when it’s a named environment in your $MAMBA_ROOT_PREFIX, then you can just use micromamba activate myenv. Named environments live in $MAMBA_ROOT_PREFIX/envs/.

After activation, the $CONDA_PREFIX and $PATH environment variables are modified to add the environment to your current bash session. You can then run install to add new packages to the environment.

$ micromamba install xtensor -c conda-forge

Using create you can also create new virtual environments. Named environments are convenient and easy to use. For example, to create a new environment:

$ micromamba create -n xtensor_env xtensor xsimd -c conda-forge
          __  ______ ___  ____ _____ ___  / /_  ____ _
         / / / / __ `__ \/ __ `/ __ `__ \/ __ \/ __ `/
        / /_/ / / / / / / /_/ / / / / / / /_/ / /_/ /
       / .___/_/ /_/ /_/\__,_/_/ /_/ /_/_.___/\__,_/

conda-forge/noarch       [====================] (00m:01s) Done
conda-forge/linux-64     [====================] (00m:04s) Done


  Prefix: /home/wolfv/miniconda3/envs/xtensor_env

  Updating specs:

   - xtensor
   - xsimd

  Package        Version  Build        Channel                    Size

  _libgcc_mutex      0.1  conda_forge  conda-forge/linux-64     Cached
  _openmp_mutex      4.5  1_gnu        conda-forge/linux-64     Cached
  libgcc-ng        9.3.0  h5dbcf3e_17  conda-forge/linux-64     Cached
  libgomp          9.3.0  h5dbcf3e_17  conda-forge/linux-64     Cached
  libstdcxx-ng     9.3.0  h2ae2ef3_17  conda-forge/linux-64     Cached
  xsimd            7.4.9  hc9558a2_0   conda-forge/linux-64     102 KB
  xtensor         0.21.9  h0efe328_0   conda-forge/linux-64     183 KB
  xtl             0.6.21  h0efe328_0   conda-forge/linux-64     Cached


  Install: 8 packages

  Total download: 285 KB


Confirm changes: [Y/n] ...

After the installation is finished, the environment can be activated with

$ micromamba activate xtensor_env

Environment files

The create syntax also allows you to use spec- or environment files to easily recreate environments.

The three supported syntaxes are: yaml, txt and explicit spec files.

Simple text spec files

The txt file contains one spec per line. For example, this could look like:

numpy 1.19
xsimd >=7.4

To use this file, pass

$ micromamba create -n from_file -f spec_file.txt -c conda-forge

Note: with spec text files you can pass multiple files by repeating the -f argument.

YAML environment files

More powerful are YAML files like the following, because they already contain a desired environment name and the channels to use.

name: testenv
  - conda-forge
  - python >=3.6,<3.7
  - ipykernel >=5.1
  - ipywidgets
$ micromamba create -f env.yml

YAML files do not allow multiple files.

Explicit environment specs

Using conda you can generate explicit environment lock files. For this, create an environment and execute

$ conda list --explicit --md5

These environment files look like the following and precisely “pin” the desired package + version + build string.

# This file may be used to create an environment using:
# $ conda create --name <env> --file <this file>
# platform: linux-64

To install such a file with micromamba, just pass the -f flag again:

$ micromamba create -n xtensor -c conda-forge -f explicit_env.txt