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Python, the high-level, interactive object oriented language, includes an extensive class library with lots of goodies for network programming, system administration, sounds and graphics. Debian provides the latest stable Python 3 release; it also provides the latest stable Python 2 release, but Python 2 is unsupported by the Python Foundation since 2020-01-01 and is being removed as of Debian 11 (Bullseye). It may also provide additional versions, as well as tons of third party packages. Python is an important part of the Debian ecosystem.
Python is very easy to learn. You can begin with the DebianWomen/PythonTutorial or the official online tutorial if you want to get started programming in Python. You might also be interested in the Python wiki, the Python FAQ, and the online documentation.
Software written in the Python programming language is executed by the Python interpreter. It is usually compiled into platform-independent bytecode files to increase performance. Python compiles and writes bytecode *.pyc files alongside the *.py sources. Extension modules can also be written in C, which are distributed as .so shared libraries.
Therefore, software written in pure Python can be distributed as source code or as compiled bytecode. The latter is similar to Java.
Python in Debian
As such, with hundreds of Python modules and multiple versions of Python supported, Debian is the largest "integrated Python distribution". Users of other operating systems (e.g. Windows and OS X) can also benefit from this integrative effort by means of virtualization (e.g. see NeuroDebian VM page for easy way to start)
Please also refer to the packaging style guide and Python Packaging wiki pages.
As of 2015-10-09 we now maintain all of our packages in Git. Here is team policy for using git for team packages.
NOTE: Debian 11 (bullseye) has removed the "python" package and the '/usr/bin/python' symlink due to the deprecation of Python 2. No packaged scripts should depend on the existence of '/usr/bin/python': if they do, that is a bug that should be reported to Debian. You can use the 'python-is-python3' or 'python-is-python2' packages to restore an appropriate '/usr/bin/python' symlink for third-party or legacy scripts. See also Python/FAQ#Python_2_support.
Within the Debian project, Python packages are maintained by individual developers and two main teams:
cpython-team maintains the Python compiler/interpreter package.
Debian Python Team maintains some Python modules and applications.
There are also :
debian-python mailing list with all development discussions
#debian-python IRC channel
Supported Python Versions
Debian Bookworm currently contains 3.11, and will likely not ship Python 2, see also Python/FAQ#Python_2_support.
Debian Bullseye contains 3.9, minimal support for 2.7
Debian Buster contains Python 2.7, 3.7
Debian Stretch contains Python 2.7, 3.5
Debian Jessie contains Python 2.7, 3.4
Debian Wheezy contains Python 2.7, 3.2
Debian Squeeze contains Python 2.5, 2.6 (the default), 3.1.
Debian Lenny contains Python 2.4 and 2.5 (the default).
Debian Unstable contains some 2.x and 3.x, python2 is being removed https://wiki.debian.org/Python/2Removal
Debian experimental may also contain some (experimental!) packages 2.x and 3.x
Those links list the distribution(s) that ship the given versions of python:
Distribution(s) shipping python3.11
Distribution(s) shipping python3.10
Distribution(s) shipping python3.9
Distribution(s) shipping python3.8 (none)
Distribution(s) shipping python3.7
Distribution(s) shipping python3.6 (none)
Distribution(s) shipping python3.5
Distribution(s) shipping python3.4
Distribution(s) shipping python3.3
Distribution(s) shipping python3.2
Distribution(s) shipping python3.1
Distribution(s) shipping python3.0 (none)
Distribution(s) shipping python2.7
Distribution(s) shipping python2.6
Distribution(s) shipping python2.5 (none)
Distribution(s) shipping python2.4 (none)
Debian Python Policy for Python developers
The Debian Python Policy describes conventions for packaging and distributing Python code in Debian.
Feel free to ask any questions on firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list.
If you want to maintain a Python package, you have to know how the Debian Development works.
Deviations from upstream
Debian distributions modify upstream Python in a few ways that are important to understand. Of course, where at all possible, we try to minimize deviations from upstream, but here is an enumeration of the changes you might encounter on a Debian system (and derivatives, such as Ubuntu).
dist-packages instead of site-packages. Third party Python software installed from Debian packages goes into dist-packages, not site-packages. This is to reduce conflict between the system Python, and any from-source Python build you might install manually.
- The standard profile and pstats modules are not included, due to restrictive redistribution clauses in their license that don’t meet the DFSG. cProfile and hotshot are however included.
In Debian 7 (Wheezy), the python-setuptools package installs the Distribute fork instead of the standard setuptools. In Debian 8 (Jessie), we reverted back to the merged setuptools project.
Also in Debian 7 (Wheezy), the python-virtualenv also uses distribute by default, but can enable classic setuptools with an optional switch. As above, in Debian 8 (Jessie) this just use the merged setuptools.
distutils setup scripts install files in /usr/local/ not sys.prefix (which is normally /usr/). This is because /usr/ is reserved for files installed from Debian packages. Note that /usr/local/lib/pythonX.Y/dist-packages is in sys.path so that modules not installed from Debian packages can still be accessed by the system Python. Tools like debhelper pass the --install-layout=deb option to the setup script while building a Debian package so that its installs files into /usr/ not /usr/local/.
Python 2.7, 3.3, and 3.4 are multiarch aware.
Style guide for packaging Python libraries (includes adding Python 3 support)
Style guide for packaging Python applications (includes Python 3 support)
There is a growing number of python-*-dbg packages for modules with extensions. They provide extensions built using python*-dbg libraries allowing to take advantage of GDB constantly improving support for debugging of Python modules and extensions. If you build extensions module, please provide corresponding -dbg package
Converting your package to dh_python2
Installing from Source
If you want the latest version, or a development version of Python, you will likely need to install it from source. In order to do that, first make sure you have build dependencies. As root, run: "aptitude build-dep python3"
Pick your version and download the "Gzipped source tarball" of the version of your choice from Python download page. Once you have the archive, extract it using "tar -xvf Python-<FULL VERSION NAME>.tgz". Once that is done, go to that directory with "cd Python-<FULL VERSION NAME>" and use the following command to compile Python from source: "./configure && make && make test" (as regular user). To install it globally without damaging system Python installed with APT, use the altinstall target (as root): "make altinstall".
- Current transitions
- Historical transitions