[Python-Dev] Another update for PEP 394 -- The "python" Command on Unix-Like Systems

Steve Dower steve.dower at python.org
Wed Feb 13 12:13:06 EST 2019

On 13Feb2019 0820, Victor Stinner wrote:
> On my Windows VM, "python" is Python 3.7 :-) In virtual environments,
> "python" can also be Python 3 as well.
> I recall that I saw commands using "python" rather than "python3" in
> the *official* Python 3 documentation: see examples below (*).
> Problem: On Windows, "python" is the right command. "python3" doesn't
> work (doesn't exist) on Windows. Should we write the doc for Windows
> or for Unix? Oooops.

With the Windows Store package of Python, you get "python", "python3", 
and "python3.x" links added to your PATH, and I'm still thinking about 
ways to make this reasonable/reliable through the full installer as well 
(the difference is that the OS manages the links through the Store 
package, whereas each individual installer has to do it on their own 

I'm inclined to view "python" as the default, official command, with the 
versioned ones being workarounds added by distributors. So:
* our docs should say "python" consistently
* we should recommend that distributors use the same workaround
* our docs should describe the recommended workaround in any places 
people are likely to first encounter it (tutorial, sys.executable, etc.)

(And maybe this isn't currently how things are done, but I'd rather hold 
up an ideal than pretend that the status quo can't be changed - this 
list is literally for discussing changing the status quo of anything in 
core Python ;) )


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