Confused updating 2.3 to 2.4 on Linux

Mike Meyer mwm at
Fri Dec 17 15:59:12 EST 2004

Glen <stygian at> writes:

> Being a new'ish user to both Linux and Python, I've been 'happily'
> learning Python (2.3) with Idle and Tkinter as installed with Mandrake
> 10.
> All seemed to work without any errors, but starting Python from Idle
> or a console displays the same statup text,
> 	Python 2.3.3 (#2, Feb 17 2004, 11:45:40)
> 	[GCC 3.3.2 (Mandrake Linux 10.0 3.3.2-6mdk)] on linux2
> 'which python' shows /usr/bin/python, and this file has not been updated
> Is there something else I should do?

The default install location for python is /usr/local, not /usr. You
can change your PATH so that /usr/local/bin precedes /usr/bin, and
then you'll get the new Python.

BTW, installing a new python doesn't "completely replace" the old
python on Unix systems. Python installs everything but one file in
directories that include the version number, so that people (mostly
developers) can keep multiple versions around with no problem. The one
exception is bin/python, which is a hard link to the last python you

If you look, you'll find /usr/lib/python2.3, /usr/include/python2.3,
/usr/local/lib/python2.4, /usr/local/include/python2.4,
/usr/bin/python2.3, /usr/local/bin/python2.3, /usr/bin/python (the
same as /usr/bin/python2.3) and /usr/local/bin/python (which is the
same as /usr/local/bin/python2.4).

If you want, you can rebuild python with:

   ./configure --prefix=/usr
   make install

and it will put the directories in parallel with the old ones, instead
of putting them in /usr/local.

Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent WWW/Perforce/FreeBSD/Unix consultant, email for more information.

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