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The python virtual environment is a really useful tool to run multiple python projects on a single computer and avoid unfulfilled package dendencies and keep your python installation clean.

However some packages cannot easily be installed by running 'easy_install' or 'pip'. The PIL (Python Image Library) is one of those packages. At least I had 100% failures. So in short if easy_install/pip fails or more likely PIL gets installed but does not work properly here is a fast and simple alternative. Yes, quick and dirty:

1) Install PIL from the windows binary distribution or using the linux package manager. These installations are precompiled and include all necessary dependencies.

Ubuntu for example:

sudo apt-get install python-imaging

2) Search your system directories for the newly installed python PIL directory. The directory should contain these two files (and many more): Image.py, imaging.so (linux) / imaging.dll (windows)

Ubuntu for example:

/usr/lib/python-2.7/dist-packages/PIL

And make sure you use the same python version used to create your virtual environment.

3) Now copy or link this directory to your

virtualenv/site-packages/PIL 

directory and you're done.