[Python-Dev] Support the /usr/bin/python2 symlink upstream

Kerrick Staley mail at kerrickstaley.com
Tue Mar 1 22:19:15 CET 2011

There is a need for the default Python2 install to place a symlink at
/usr/bin/python2 that points to /usr/bin/python, or for the documentation to
recommend that packagers ensure that python2 is defined. Also, all
documentation should be changed to recommend that "#!/usr/bin/env python2"
be used as the shebang for Python 2 scripts.
This is needed because some distributions (Arch Linux, in particular), point
/usr/bin/python to /usr/bin/python3, while others (including Slackware,
Debian, and the BSDs, probably more) do not even define the python2 command.
This means that a script has no way of achieving cross-platform
compatibility. The point at which many distributions begin to alias
/usr/bin/python to /usr/bin/python3 is due soon, and for the next couple of
years, it would be best to use a python2 or python3 shebang in all scripts,
making no assumptions about plain python, which should only be invoked
interactively. This email from about 3 years ago seems relevant: :
Again, this issue needs to be addressed by the Python developers themselves
so that different *nix distributions will handle it consistently, allowing
Python scripts to continue to be cross-platform.
Kerrick Staley
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