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How To Install Python 3 on Ubuntu (23.10)

Installing Python on Ubuntu opens up many possibilities. With Python, you can automate tasks, analyze data, build models, scrape web pages, and more. But first you need to set it up properly.

In this beginner guide, I’ll walk you through installing the latest Python 3 on Ubuntu. We’ll check if Python is already installed, use Ubuntu’s APT manager to get Python, set up tools like pip and virtual environments, create a simple Python script, and some final thoughts.

Even if you know Python, this can streamline using it on Ubuntu. So let’s get started!

Check If Python Is Already Installed

Before putting in Python, it’s good to see if it’s already on your Ubuntu system. Open the terminal and type “python3 –version” to check if Python 3 is set up. If you see the version number like Python 3.8.10, then Python is already ready.

If the command is not found, Python likely isn’t set up yet. If an older Python version shows, you can update the Python packages by running “sudo apt –only-upgrade install python3“. This will get the newest Python release in Ubuntu’s archives and upgrade your system Python smoothly.

If you had issues before with a problematic Python install, it’s best to fully remove it before putting it back in. Run commands like “sudo apt purge python3” to take Python itself off. You may also need to manually delete old Python files left in /usr/bin/python* and ~/.local/bin if they cause conflicts.

Python 2 vs Python 3

Python 3 is the most recent major Python version. It brought in several upgrades over the aging Python 2.7 release, including faster speed, better security, works with newer systems, simpler syntax, and improved library support. Python 2 reached its end-of-life in 2020, so Python 3 is the way to go moving ahead.

Key Python Terms

Before installing Python, it helps to know some key terms:

  • pip – The manager for Python used to put in and manage extra libraries and needs.
  • Virtual environments – Isolated directories with a Python install plus additional packages just for one project, preventing conflicts between dependencies and versions.
  • $PATH variable – A list of directories where the OS looks for executables like python3 or pip3.

Using virtual environments to sandbox project dependencies is considered best practice for Python development in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions.

Install Python in Ubuntu from APT Repositories

Ubuntu has Python available in its default software repositories, making installation straightforward. To install the newest Python release, update the package index and install python3 with:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install python3

Check the version with python3 –version again to confirm Python 3 is set up properly from APT. This takes care of putting Python in Ubuntu for general use.

To install a certain Python version like the newest Python 3.10 in Ubuntu, add the Deadsnakes PPA repository and then install the python3.10 package with:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa sudo apt install python3.10

Compared to compiling from source code, using APT repositories to get Python reduces maintenance and is the recommended approach for most Ubuntu users.

Set Up pip and Virtual Environments

Python packages can be put in using the pip package manager. Let’s install it with:

sudo apt install python3-pip

With pip set up, we can now make virtual environments to manage dependencies for Python projects, preventing version conflicts with system-wide packages.

To make a virtual env called ‘myproject’:

python3 -m venv myproject

Activate it with:

source myproject/bin/activate

The command prompt will change to show the virtualenv is on. In these environments, you can just use python and pip instead of python3 and pip3 if you want.

Exit the virtual environment by running:


Install Python Packages with pip

Python packages can be put in using pip install inside virtual environments. For example to get the NumPy math library:

pip install numpy

Initialize Git Repository

It’s good practice to initialize a git repository after making the virtual environment to track changes to Python code:

git init
git add 

Next Steps for Using Python in Ubuntu

With Python set up properly, you can now write scripts to unlock its capabilities. For example, create a file with:

print("Hello World!")

And run it with:


For new Python learners, I suggest checking interactive Python tutorials for beginners to learn core ideas. You may also want to put in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) like Visual Studio Code tailored for Python development.

Congratulations on installing Python 3 in Ubuntu! Now the essential stack is set to start Python programming on Ubuntu. The key takeaways are knowing commands like python3 –version, using pip to manage packages, and properly isolating project needs with virtual environments. Best of luck with your Python journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I install Python in Ubuntu?

Installing Python enables you to leverage its powerful capabilities like automating tasks, data analysis, machine learning, and web scraping on your Ubuntu desktop or servers. Python comes pre-packaged in Ubuntu’s repositories, making setup easy.

How do I check the Python version in Ubuntu?

You can check the installed Python version by running the command “python3 –version” in your Ubuntu terminal. This will display the major and minor version number if Python 3 is present.

Is Python 2 still supported in Ubuntu?

Python 2 reached its end-of-life in 2020 and is no longer supported. Ubuntu 20.04 LTS includes Python 3 by default. Using Python 3 is recommended as it has better security, speed, and modern syntax.

Should I use APT or compile from source code?

Installing Python from Ubuntu’s APT repositories is the simplest approach for most use cases. It handles dependencies automatically. Compiling source code is only needed for special situations like requiring very specific Python versions or builds.

How do I use pip to install Python packages?

The pip package manager allows installing useful Python libraries. Run “pip install ” in your terminal or virtual environment to get packages like NumPy, Pandas, TensorFlow, etc.

What is a virtual environment and why is it useful?

A virtual environment is an isolated folder containing a Python installation plus installed packages, just for that project. Virtual environments prevent conflicts between dependencies and Python versions across different projects.

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