What Is The Difference Between Anaconda and Miniconda?

Miniconda Vs Anaconda
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Conda is a wholesome package manager. So, in Conda, you can see all the installed packages in the environment, whereas Miniconda and Anaconda are their distributions.


Thus, you can think of software distribution as a cluster of the packages that are pre-configured and pre-built, ready for installation and use onto the system. Further, a package manager is a tool that automates the tedious task of updating, installing, and removing any package.


Anaconda is a broad distribution of the central software found within the PyData ecosystem. So, Anaconda will have Python, along with the binaries for 100s of 3rd-party open-source projects. On the other hand, Miniconda is a minuscule installer for the Anaconda distribution.


Generally speaking, Miniconda can be understood as a bootstrap, smaller version of Anaconda with just the Conda package management system and Python. After Miniconda distribution has been installed, you will have to install every package you require individually, using the Conda command.


However, both Miniconda and Anaconda provide Conda as the default package manager. Across this guide, we will compare Miniconda vs Anaconda to help you decide which of the two is a better pick for your application.


Hence in this guide, our objective is to help you understand the difference between Anaconda and Miniconda. However, before we start our comparison Anaconda vs Miniconda guide, we would like to discuss both these terms individually.

What Is Anaconda?

So, in this guide comparing the Anaconda and Miniconda,we would first start with what Anaconda is.


Anaconda is a distribution for R and Python languages. It is a widely used data science platform that comes with an array of data science-related packages.


In addition, Anaconda is a comprehensive package that helps overcome all the issues faced in creating libraries, which you require from the source code that often afflicts one by one installation of the libraries via the tools, such as pip.

What Is Miniconda?

As already stated, to understand the Anaconda and Miniconda difference, you must be thorough with both these terms. So, now, we will move on to the next aspect of the equation – what is Miniconda?


Miniconda is a free, small package installer for Conda. You can consider it a Bootstrap, a small Anaconda version, which only has Python, Conda, and the packages they rely on. You can find a few other smaller but useful packages in it, such as Zlib, pip, and others.


You can use the Conda install command to access over 720 Conda packages present in the Anaconda repository.


Broadly speaking, both Miniconda and Anaconda are software distributions, which find significant use in data science for streamlining project management and deployment.


So, now let us address the difference between Miniconda and Anaconda.

When To Choose What?

Amongst Miniconda vs Anaconda, which one to choose? The choice between Anaconda vs Miniconda, will depend on a lot of things. Here, let us address that in brief for your quick understanding.

You should opt for Anaconda if:

  • You are an amateur at Python or Conda
  • You enjoy the convenience of having more than 150 scientific packages, 1000s of open source packages, and Python installed in your system in one go.
  • Have time in hand – Anaconda installation does not take more than a few minutes
  • Have available space in your system for accommodating Anaconda – 3GB minimum
  • Do not want to go through the hassle of individually installing every package that you need


You should opt for Miniconda if:

  • You are okay with installing every package one by one that you aspire to use.
  • You lack time
  • You do not have the requisite disk space to accommodate 100s & 1000 plus packages
  • You want to access just the Conda commands and Python and deal with other programs later.


Is Anaconda Better Than Miniconda?

Now, in this difference between Miniconda and Anaconda guide, we will address which amongst Anaconda vs Miniconda is a better pick?


An open-source Python distribution, Anaconda is exquisitely designed for utilities, such as large-scale data processing, data science, and machine learning. It comprises the whole core of the Python language and the package management tool, and over 200 packages.


After studying the Miniconda vs Anaconda comparison, we figured that even though it is one of the most comprehensive distributaries, it is invariably massive. As stated above, the installation would demand disk space of 2GB+ as the file size is about 200 MB. Beyond these packages, the distribution also includes an array of other software additions, such as Anaconda Navigator, a GUI.


It surely does not end here. You also get qt-console, a terminal-like solution capable of making graphs inline using Anaconda distribution.


This is not all. Anaconda also comes with a few other additional packages, which mainly depend on the installer chosen by you.

  • With every Anaconda installation, over two hundred and fifty packages will be auto-installed.
  • You can find over 7500 open-source packages like R present in the Anaconda repository. These can be downloaded and installed via the Conda install command feature.
  • Further, several thousand packages can be accessed directly from the Anaconda Cloud.
  • Via the Conda build command feature, personalizing the packages is easy. You can also share these by uploading them to the repositories as Anaconda Cloud or PyPI.
  • When the pip package manager is installed with the Anaconda distribution, downloading extra packages via the pip install command is easy. However, the preference must be given to the Conda packages over the Pip packages.


Overall, amongst Anaconda and Miniconda, the former has higher popularity because all the tools utilized in machine learning and data science can be accessed in a single installation.


So, naturally, Anaconda assures a quicker and more straightforward setup. However, technically, between Miniconda and Anaconda, the latter is quite bloated.


When choosing between Miniconda and Anaconda, some people usually pick the former because there are so many packages, which never come in use in Anaconda. So, it is ideal to opt for Miniconda and download and install the supporting packages only when required.


We want to conclude this section of Anaconda vs Miniconda – which is better, by stating that it is subjective and that no one is better than the other. Hence, your choice between the two would depend on your personal needs and requirements.


Can I Have Both Anaconda and Miniconda? Can I Install Anaconda After Miniconda?

Yes, you can have both Anaconda and Miniconda. However, you must know that both of them come with Conda, and since Conda is a package manager, what can be accomplished with Anaconda can also be completed with Miniconda.


So, even though you can have both of them, you probably do not need both of them. So, you can choose between Miniconda vs Anaconda. If you cannot install Anaconda for any reason or are low on storage space, it would be an ideal move to pick Minocnda.


Technically, the steps involved in the Miniconda section, building a custom Conda environment, will be functional only after the Anaconda section is complete. However, there’s no denying the fact if you can create two different Conda environments in the same system, you can install Anaconda after Miniconda.


Does Miniconda Include Python or Jupyter?

Yes, Miniconda has Python in it. However, Jupyter ought to be installed separately. However, when your system already has Miniconda or Anaconda installed, the installation of the Jupyter Notebook is straightforward.


As a matter of fact, Jupyter is one of the first tools you will use as it streamlines the process of writing small programs. When you install Miniconda, you get a package manager, which can be utilized to get Jupyter.


Follow the steps below for the same:

  • Open the command-line interface.
  • Head to the CS 205 directory
  • Run: Conda install Jupyter, and your Jupyter installation will start.


(You will have to click on y to confirm the installation.)


Bottom Line

Hopefully, with our guide above, you are thorough with the difference between Anaconda and Miniconda. We want to conclude that regardless of the Miniconda vs Anaconda differences, both the distribution options for the Python programming are incredible, and the choice between the two depends on the choice of app.


Anaconda distribution comprises a multitude of packages, including the tools and compilers, which will come in handy for every developer.


However, it has a higher disk space required to accommodate the many packages included in it. Moreover, it will also take a little longer to install it.


On the other hand, Miniconda is only a more compact version of Anaconda. Thus, it will need smaller space and little time to install it.


So, generally speaking, both Anaconda and Miniconda have their set of pros and cons. The choice Anaconda vs Miniconda depends on your individual preferences and the intended use.


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