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Our web hosts Mythic Beasts provide dedicated Pi 3 hosting, so I fired up 20 of them to share the load.

I estimated this would take 75 days for one Pi, but I intended to scale it up to use multiple Pis.

The pip package in Raspbian Stretch is configured to use piwheels as an additional index, so it falls back to Py PI if we’re missing a package. And now, every time you pip install something, your files come from a web server running on a Raspberry Pi (that capable little machine)!

Try it for yourself in a virtual environment: Then it searches both indexes for available files.

That usually happens when modules have been implemented in C and require compilation.

A general solution to this problem exists: Python wheels are a standard for distributing pre-built versions of packages, saving users from having to build from source.

We analysed the failures, made some tweaks, installed some key dependencies, and ran the build again to raise our success rate from 76% to 83%.

We also rebuilt packages for Python 3.5 (the new default in Raspbian Stretch).

The wheels we build are tagged ‘armv7l’, but because our Raspbian image is compatible with all Pi models, they’re really ARMv6, so they’re compatible with Pi 3, Pi 2, Pi 1 and Pi Zero.