Package naming conventions

To facilitate communication and documentation, conda observes the package naming conventions listed below.

package name

The name of a package, without any reference to a particular version. Conda package names are normalized, and they may contain only lowercase alpha characters, numeric digits, underscores, hyphens or dots. In usage documentation, these are referred to by package_name.

package version

A version number or string, often similar to X.Y or X.Y.Z, but it may take other forms as well.

build string

An arbitrary string that identifies a particular build of a package for conda. It may contain suggestive mnemonics, but these are subject to change, and you should not rely on it or try to parse it for any specific information.

canonical name

The package name, version and build string joined together by hyphens—name-version-buildstring. In usage documentation, these are referred to by canonical_name.


Conda package filenames are canonical names, plus the suffix .tar.bz2.

The following figure compares a canonical name to a filename:


Conda package naming.

package specification

A package name together with a package version—which may be partial or absent—joined by an equal sign.


  • python=2.7.3
  • python=2.7
  • python

In usage documentation, these are referred to by package_spec.