What is the purpose of the c flag in the “conda install” command

-c stands for --channel.
It’s used to specify a channel where to search for your package, the channel is often named owner.

The generic command is: conda install -c CHANNEL_NAME PACKAGE_NAME

For example, let’s say you want to download pytorch. You can search on anaconda.org. You’ll see that pytorch (the pacakge) is owned by pytorch.

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Then, you’ll just have to do a:

conda install -c pytorch pytorch

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