pytest recipes

Skipping tests based on markers

A few packages use custom pytest markers to indicate e.g. tests requiring Internet access. These markers can be used to conveniently disable whole test groups, e.g.:

python_test() {
    epytest -m 'not network' dask

Skipping tests based on paths/names

There are two primary methods of skipping tests based on path (and name) in pytest: using --ignore and --deselect.

--ignore causes pytest to entirely ignore a file or a directory when collecting tests. This works only for skipping whole files but it ignores missing dependencies and other failures occurring while importing the test file.

--deselect causes pytest to skip the specific test or tests. It can be also used to select individual tests or even parametrized variants of tests.

Both options can be combined to get tests to pass without having to alter the test files. They are preferable over suggestions from skipping problematic tests when tests are installed as part of the package. They can also be easily applied conditionally to Python interpreter.

The modern versions of eclasses provide two control variables, EPYTEST_IGNORE and EPYTEST_DESELECT that can be used to list test files or tests to be ignored or deselected respectively. These variables can be used in global scope to avoid redefining python_test(). However, combining them with additional conditions requires using the local scope.

python_test() {
    local EPYTEST_IGNORE=(
        # ignore whole file with missing dep
        # deselect a single test
        # deselect a parametrized test based on first param
    [[ ${EPYTHON} == python3.6 ]] && EPYTEST_DESELECT+=(
        # deselect a test for py3.6 only

Avoiding the dependency on pytest-runner

pytest-runner is a package providing pytest command to setuptools. While it might be convenient upstream, there is no real reason to use it in Gentoo packages. It has no real advantage over calling pytest directly.

Some packages declare the dependency on pytest-runner in setup_requires. As a result, the dependency is enforced whenever is being run, even if the user has no intention of running tests. If this is the case, the dependency must be stripped.

The recommended method of stripping it is to use sed:

python_prepare_all() {
    sed -i -e '/pytest-runner/d' || die

Using pytest-xdist to run tests in parallel

pytest-xdist is a plugin that makes it possible to run multiple tests in parallel. This is especially useful for programs with large test suites that take significant time to run single-threaded.

Not all test suites support pytest-xdist. Particularly, it requires that the tests are written not to collide one with another. Sometimes, xdist may also cause instability of individual tests.

When only a few tests are broken or unstable because of pytest-xdist, it is possible to use it and deselect the problematic tests. It is up to the maintainer’s discretion to decide whether this is justified.

Using pytest-xdist is recommended if the package in question supports it (i.e. it does not cause semi-random test failures) and its test suite takes significant time. When using pytest-xdist, please respect user’s make options for the job number, e.g.:

inherit multiprocessing

    test? (

distutils_enable_tests pytest

python_test() {
   epytest -n "$(makeopts_jobs)"

Please note that some upstream use pytest-xdist even if there is no real gain from doing so. If the package’s tests take a short time to finish, please avoid the dependency and strip it if necessary.

Avoiding dependencies on other pytest plugins

There is a number of pytest plugins that have little value to Gentoo users. They include plugins for test coverage (dev-python/pytest-cov), coding style (dev-python/pytest-flake8) and more. Generally, packages should avoid using those plugins.


As of 2022-01-24, epytest disables a few undesirable plugins by default. As a result, developers have a good chance of experiencing failures due to hardcoded pytest options first, even if they have the relevant plugins installed.

If your package really needs to use the specific plugin, you need to pass -p <plugin> explicitly to reenable it.

In some cases, upstream packages only list them as dependencies but do not use them automatically. In other cases, you will need to strip options enabling them from pytest.ini or setup.cfg.

src_prepare() {
    sed -i -e 's:--cov=wheel::' setup.cfg || die

Explicitly disabling automatic pytest plugins

Besides plugins explicitly used by the package, there are a few pytest plugins that enable themselves automatically for all test suites when installed. In some cases, their presence causes tests of packages that do not expect them, to fail.

An example of such package used to be dev-python/pytest-relaxed. To resolve problems due to the plugin, it was necessary to disable it explicitly:

python_test() {
    # pytest-relaxed plugin makes our tests fail
    epytest -p no:relaxed

Expert: disabling plugin autoloading entirely

If a test suite invokes pytest recursively (this is particularly the case when packaging other pytest plugins), the -p option can be insufficient to disable problematic plugins, as it does not get passed to the nested pytest invocations. For these packages, the next best thing is to use environment variables.

Unfortunately, environment variables can only be used to disable autoloading entirely. When doing that, you need to explicitly force loading plugins that the test suite really needs.

This is done using two envvars: PYTEST_DISABLE_PLUGIN_AUTOLOAD to disable autoloading plugins, and PYTEST_PLUGINS to specify plugins to load. The latter takes a comma-separated list of entry point modules. To find the correct module names, look into the entry_points.txt inside the package’s .egg-info directory.

python_test() {
    local -x PYTEST_PLUGINS=xdist.plugin,xdist.looponfail,pytest_forked


TypeError: _make_test_flaky() got an unexpected keyword argument ‘reruns’

If you see a test error resembling the following:

TypeError: _make_test_flaky() got an unexpected keyword argument 'reruns'

This means that the tests are being run via flaky plugin while the package in question expects pytest-rerunfailures. This is because both plugins utilize the same @pytest.mark.flaky marker but support different set of arguments.

To resolve the problem, explicitly disable the flaky plugin and make sure to depend on dev-python/pytest-rerunfailures:

    test? (

python_test() {
    epytest -p no:flaky


An ImportPathMismatchError generally indicates that the same Python module (or one that supposedly looks the same) has been loaded twice using different paths, e.g.:

E   _pytest.pathlib.ImportPathMismatchError: ('path', '/usr/lib/pypy3.7/site-packages/path', PosixPath('/tmp/portage/dev-python/jaraco-path-3.3.1/work/jaraco.path-3.3.1/jaraco/'))

These problems are usually caused by pytest test discovery getting confused by namespace packages. In this case, the jaraco directory is a Python 3-style namespace but pytest is treating it as a potential test directory. Therefore, instead of loading it as jaraco.path relatively to the top directory, it loads it as path relatively to the jaraco directory.

The simplest way to resolve this problem is to restrict the test discovery to the actual test directories, e.g.:

python_test() {
    epytest test


python_test() {
    epytest --ignore jaraco

fixture ‘…’ not found

Most of the time, a missing fixture indicates that some pytest plugin is not installed. In rare cases, it can signify an incompatible pytest version or package issue.

The following table maps common fixture names to their respective plugins.

Fixture name













pytest captures all warnings from the test suite by default, and prints a summary of them at the end of the test suite run:

=============================== warnings summary ===============================
asgiref/ 1 warning
tests/ 5 warnings
tests/ 12 warnings
tests/ 1 warning
  /tmp/asgiref/asgiref/ DeprecationWarning: There is no current event loop
    self.main_event_loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()

However, some projects go further and use filterwarnings option to make (some) warnings fatal:

==================================== ERRORS ====================================
_____________________ ERROR collecting tests/ ______________________
tests/ in <module>
    class ASGITest(TestCase):
tests/ in ASGITest
    async def test_wrapped_case_is_collected(self):
asgiref/ in __init__
    self.main_event_loop = asyncio.get_event_loop()
E   DeprecationWarning: There is no current event loop
=========================== short test summary info ============================
ERROR tests/ - DeprecationWarning: There is no current event loop
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Interrupted: 1 error during collection !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
=============================== 1 error in 0.13s ===============================

Unfortunately, this frequently means that warnings coming from a dependency trigger test failures in other packages. Since making warnings fatal is relatively common in the Python world, it is recommended to:

  1. Fix warnings in Python packages whenever possible, even if they are not fatal to the package itself.

  2. Do not enable new Python implementations if they trigger any new warnings in the package.

If the warnings come from issues in the package’s test suite rather than the installed code, it is acceptable to make them non-fatal. This can be done either through removing the filterwarnings key from setup.cfg, or adding an ignore entry. For example, the following setting ignores DeprecationWarning in test directory:

filterwarnings =