South: Unknown command 'migrate'

I'm getting a merciless

$ python migrate
Unknown command: 'migrate'
Type ' help' for usage.

I pulled the code from github onto a fresh computer. This code is tested and is working on other computers. The entire code runs fine except for the fact I can't run migrations!

Installed my virtual environment and ran pip install -r requirements.txt. It installs everything, including South. I can check by running

$ python shell
>>> import south
>>> south.__version__

However, when I run the help, the migrate and schemamigration commands don't appear listed.

I double checked that my file has 'south' listed under INSTALLED_APPS (I didn't change this file after pulling).

I tried pip uninstall south and then running pip install -r requirements.txt again, but I still get the same error.

Would really appreciate any help!


Successful import of package is not enough for Django management commands. Python can import a package easy from a zipped egg but Django needs a normal uncompressed file.

Advices that simplify your problem initially:

  1. Management commands must exist as files in a normal directory (not zipped).
  2. Try to find and remove old installations of south manually. A frequent problem was that one version of some package has been installed by easy_install (zipped) or manually by "python install" but pip didn't uninstall it and installed it for the second time.
  3. Use only absolute directories in python path. Do not change the python path between installer and running Django either in environment or by customized manage or if possible. Some or use different python path than the one used by package intallers, e.g. added "." or ".." before other directories. You should not have other south directory in . or .. in your project.

The advice 1 is an absolute requirement of Django. The other two are heplful even if I use multiple versions somehow for testing my applications with multiple versions of Python, Django etc.

Example of investigation of the main requirement:

$ python shell
>>> import os
>>> import
>>> assert os.path.isfile(

This is caused largely by following the 1.7 (DEV version) tutorial when we all get the last stable version (1.6) installed by pip.

Either follow the 1.6 tutorial or follow the instructions to install 1.7 dev version of Django.

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