So then what’s mambaforge?

We need to break this into two parts: Conda-forge is an online repository (or “channel”, in conda parlance) of Python packages. As a community run channel, it has much more software, and often has the more cutting edge versions, than the default Anaconda channel. It’s pretty much always a good idea to use the conda-forge version of a package if it exists, unless the package documentation explicitly says otherwise (some may want you to use Pip - see below). It’s very easy to set any Conda installation to use conda-forge channels by default; the website prominently displays the required commands. However, there also versions of Miniconda (such as Miniforge) that automatically have conda-forge set up as the default channel - therefore, it’s preferable to use Miniforge over Miniconda.

Meanwhile, mamba is a re-imagining of the conda package manager software. It works in exactly the same way (even down to the same commands), but it is a lot faster, and I find tends to do a better job resolving package dependencies. It’s very easy to install, you just install the mamba package into your environment with conda install mamba - but if you plan to use it in every environment (and I’m yet to encounter a reason not to use it), it’s handy to have it pre-installed - this is where Mambaforge comes in, as it is Miniforge but with mamba preinstalled.

This page provides an overview of mambaforge and conda-forge. conda-forge is a popular online repository of Python packages that provides access to a wide range of software. It is run by the community and often has more up-to-date versions of packages than the default Anaconda channel. It is recommended to use the conda-forge version of a package unless the package documentation explicitly states otherwise.

On the other hand, mamba is a package manager software that has been designed to work like conda. However, it is much faster and generally does a better job of resolving package dependencies. Installing mamba is easy; simply run conda install mamba. It is also possible to use Mambaforge, which is Miniforge with mamba pre-installed, so that mamba can be used in every environment.

It is important to understand the differences between conda-forge and the default Anaconda channel, as well as the benefits of using mamba over conda. By using these tools, you can access a wide range of Python packages and ensure that your work is as efficient and effective as possible.