poncho_package_create - command-line utility for creating a Conda virtual environment given a Python dependencies file

SYNOPSIS Creates a portable Conda environment using a poncho specification. Tasks can run within the environment using poncho_package_run.

Example Specification:
    "conda": {
        "channels": [
        "dependencies": [
                "pip": [

    "git": {
                "DATA_DIR": {
                        "remote": "http://.../repo.git",

    "http": {
                "REFERENCE_DB": {
                        "type": "file",
                        "url": "https://.../example.dat"
                "TRAINING_DATASET": {
                        "type": "tar",
                        "compression": "gzip",
                        "url": "http://.../dataset.tar.gz"

poncho_package_create [options] <dependency-file> <<output-path>>


poncho_package_create is a simple command-line utility that creates a local Conda environment from an input JSON dependency file. The command creates an environment tarball at output-path that can be sent to and run on different machines with the same architecture.

The dependency-file argument is the path (relative or absolute) to the a JSON specification file. The output-path argument specifies the path for the environment tarball that is created (should usually end in .tar.gz).


  • --conda-executable=<path>
    Location of conda executable to use. If not given, mamba, $CONDA_EXE, conda, and microconda are tried, in that order.
  • --no-microconda
    Do not try to download microconda if a conda executable is not found.
  • -h,--help
    Show the help message.


On success, returns zero. On failure, returns non-zero.


poncho_package_create dependencies.json example_venv.tar.gz

This will create an example_venv.tar.gz environment tarball within the current working directory, which can then be exported to different machines for execution.

The Cooperative Computing Tools are Copyright (C) 2022 The University of Notre Dame. This software is distributed under the GNU General Public License. See the file COPYING for details.