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

Barry Warsaw barry at python.org
Fri Mar 4 03:04:18 CET 2011

On Mar 03, 2011, at 09:55 AM, Piotr Ożarowski wrote:

>I don't really mind adding /usr/bin/python2 symlink just to clean Arch
>mess, but I do mind changing /usr/bin/python to point to python3 (and I
>can use the same argument - "Explicit is better than implicit" - if you
>need Python 3, say so in the shebang, right?). What I'm afraid of is
>when we'll add /usr/bin/python2, we'll start getting a lot of scripts
>that will have to be checked manually every time new upstream version is
>released because we cannot assume what upstream author is using at given
>If /usr/bin/python will be disallowed in shebangs on the other hand
>(and all scripts will use /usr/bin/python2, /usr/bin/python3,
>/usr/bin/python4 or /usr/bin/python2.6 etc.) I don't see a problem with
>letting administrators choose /usr/bin/python (right now not only
>changing it from python2.X to python3.X will break the system but also
>changing it from /usr/bin/pytohn2.X to /usr/bin/python2.Y will break it,
>and believe me, I know what I'm talking about (one of the guys at work
>did something like this once))
>[all IMHO, dunno if other Debian's python-defaults maintainers agree
>with me]

This all seems reasonable to me, except that I think it would be good at some
point -- which might be in several years -- to point /usr/bin/python to
python3.  We are not there now, but I do think we will be there one day.

I also don't think we have to worry about a Python 4.  I'm skeptical it will
ever happen, because really, how many big warts in Python 3 do you think we'll
need to break in a backward incompatible way?  If it does, and history holds
true, it'll be 15 years from now.  Then all you whippersnappers can do
whatever you like. :)

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