Python Image Library fails with message "decoder JPEG not available" - PIL Python Image Library fails with message "decoder JPEG not available" - PIL python python

Python Image Library fails with message "decoder JPEG not available" - PIL


libjpeg-dev is required to be able to process jpegs with pillow (or PIL), so you need to install it and then recompile pillow. It also seems that libjpeg8-dev is needed on Ubuntu 14.04

If you're still using PIL then you should really be using pillow these days though, so first pip uninstall PIL before following these instructions to switch, or if you have a good reason for sticking with PIL then replace "pillow" with "PIL" in the below).

On Ubuntu:

# install libjpeg-dev with aptsudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev# if you're on Ubuntu 14.04, also install thissudo apt-get install libjpeg8-dev# reinstall pillowpip install --no-cache-dir -I pillow

If that doesn't work, try one of the below, depending on whether you are on 64bit or 32bit Ubuntu.

For Ubuntu x64:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libjpeg.so /usr/libsudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libfreetype.so /usr/libsudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libz.so /usr/lib

Or for Ubuntu 32bit:

sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libjpeg.so /usr/lib/sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libfreetype.so.6 /usr/lib/sudo ln -s /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu/libz.so /usr/lib/

Then reinstall pillow:

pip install --no-cache-dir -I pillow

(Edits to include feedback from comments. Thanks Charles Offenbacher for pointing out this differs for 32bit, and t-mart for suggesting use of --no-cache-dir).


For those on OSX, I used the following binary to get libpng and libjpeg installed systemwide:

libpng & libjpeg for OSX

Because I already had PIL installed (via pip on a virtualenv), I ran:

pip uninstall PILpip install PIL --upgrade

This resolved the decoder JPEG not available error for me.

UPDATE (4/24/14):

Newer versions of pip require additional flags to download libraries (including PIL) from external sources. Try the following:

pip install PIL --allow-external PIL --allow-unverified PIL

See the following answer for additional info: pip install PIL dont install into virtualenv

UPDATE 2:

If on OSX Mavericks, you'll want to set the ARCHFLAGS flag as @RicardoGonzales comments below:

ARCHFLAGS=-Wno-error=unused-command-line-argument-hard-error-in-future pip install PIL --allow-external PIL --allow-unverified PIL


This is the only way that worked for me. Installing packages and reinstalling PIL didn't work.

On ubuntu, install the required package:

sudo apt-get install libjpeg-dev

(you may also want to install libfreetype6 libfreetype6-dev zlib1g-dev to enable other decoders).

Then replace PIL with pillow:

pip uninstall PILpip install pillow


matomo