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@hofingermarkus, my answers:
Is it possible to set other environment variables - like a CUDA_HOME path?
For your environment variables to be passed to the kernel, you need to start it in a terminal with the command
python -m spyder_kernels.console
Does this mean the other environment can now deviate completely from spyder requirenments
Yes, any environment can have the packages you want on it.
Or are there some basic dependencies for the spyder-kernels package that circumvent that?
The basic dependencies of
spyder-kernels are installed when you install it with
conda/pip install spyder-kernels
cloudpickle, and the total list of subdependencies are backcall, colorama, decorator, ipython, ipython_genutils, jedi, jupyter_client, jupyter_core, libsodium, parso, pickleshare, prompt_toolkit, pygments, python-dateutil, pyzmq, simplegeneric, six, tornado, traitlets, wcwidth, and zeromq, with only three total packages (ipykernel, pyzmq and jupyter-client) having specific >= version requirements. So yes, you can have Qt4 (though really, it is time to upgrade since it or PyQt haven't been supported for many years and will be dropped from Anaconda sooner or later) or any other packages you want, so long as spyder-kernels is installed and something doesn't require > the versions specified (4.8.2, 17 and 5.2.3) for the three specific mentioned (which is rather unlikely).