Cover image for Launching!


Wolf Vollprecht
Written by Wolf Vollprecht 2 years ago

I’m excited to share that we're launching – a startup to tackle all things package management. I have been working on the mamba software package manager for 3+ years now. And I am heavily involved with the conda-forge community as an active member and maintainer of lots of packages. During this time conda-forge has seen tremendous growth and is still on an exponential curve. At the same time, there is still a lot of untapped potential in the mamba & conda-forge space: lessons learned from other ecosystems (such as cargo, poetry and hatch), embedding mamba into new applications and synergies with package management for other programming languages.

Prefix’s mission

I started working in the package management space because I was frustrated with the difficulty of installing software across operating systems and shipping it to end users around the world. This was specifically a struggle in the robotics world (for the ROS packages), but it is still true, everywhere. Solid package management across operating systems remains a tough challenge.

We have ambitious plans to change the status quo: We want to standardize software package management – one package manager for everything from WebAssembly, Linux, macOS to Windows. This ambitious goal sets a high bar. But we are building on solid foundations: the open source mamba package manager is already widely used in the PyData ecosystem with tens of thousands of users relying on it to install and use packages from the conda-forge repository every day.

The mamba package manager tries to do things right: powerful package management with an easy to use interface. We aim to have as many features as npm, Cargo, Nix, Poetry, Guix or Spack while being as beginner friendly as possible. We want to make working with mamba environments as simple and "worry-free" as working with Docker containers, while keeping the flexibility of a true package management solution.

I am excited that we have the backing to expand the current capabilities of mamba to make it handle other programming languages and their ecosystems better.

We are still 100% committed to mamba

What we’re building for Prefix

I truly believe that conda-forge has so much potential as a project and community: it is the first community that does proper cross-platform package management and has scaled beyond thousands of packages and maintainers. It's a truly unique thing! Prefix’s first mission is to serve this community and give it awesome tools to manage such a large software repository.

That is why we are launching a repository browser today. The current platform indexes all existing packages in the conda-forge, bioconda and robostack repositories and offers a fast search experience. We are hard at work on additional features that will be loved by package maintainers and users – like Github integrations, click-through dependencies and more. If you have suggestions or feedback, file an issue in this Github repository.

Prefix will build on everything mamba does so well and offer additional tooling for package management to make it as easy, secure, powerful and enterprise-ready as it should be.

Among other things, we will provide:

  • Software package discovery and browsing
  • Share, collaborate and edit software environments online
  • Advanced security reporting for managed environments and channels
  • Small, stable and secure base package distribution
  • Integration with sigstore for package signing

Our ambition is to make mamba & conda-forge the default package manager and repository of choice for any platform and any project.

Prefix will focus on fast developer tools written in native languages (Rust and C++) that will help the conda-forge ecosystem to be even more efficient at maintaining 1000s of packages and keeping them up to date. Later we want to enable our users to build on top of conda-forge and to publish their own software (privately or publicly) that follows all of conda-forge's rolling releases & version migrations.

Finally, Prefix wants to make the deployment of software environments as straightforward as possible for our customers (individual developers and enterprises alike). Deployments can target a public cloud or on-premise solution.

Follow along

We will release a couple of additional features on in the upcoming weeks. We’d be thrilled if you stay in touch with us by following our journey on Twitter @prefix_dev or join our Discord server.

We’re hiring!

If you’re interested in package management or building fast and high-impact developer tools that can make a positive difference in thousands of developer lives we would love to hear from you. We have written more about what you can expect from working at in our we're hiring blog post. Please reach out at and tell us a little about yourself.