debian and python--any potential pitfalls?

Robert Kern robert.kern at
Mon Dec 19 07:24:48 CET 2005

Brian van den Broek wrote:

> Not knowing much about the details of linux and less about Debian, my 
> googling hasn't yielded much that settles things. I have found out 
> that stable ships with 2.3.5. I imagine it should be straightforward 
> to upgrade to 2.4.2. Am I correct? Any other Debian/Python issues I 
> should know about?

There are packages for Python 2.3.5 (python2.3-*) and packages for Python 2.4.2
(python2.4-*). There are also metapackages (python-*) that just depend on the
python2.3-* versions. I think you might be able to set /usr/bin/python (which on
Debian stable is Python 2.3.5) to be Python 2.4.2 via the "alternatives"
mechanism, but I forget. Take a look at the Debian Python Policy document. In
any case, you can always get Python X.Y with /usr/bin/pythonX.Y .

You will probably also want to install python2.4-dev so you can build and
install packages with distutils.

Robert Kern
robert.kern at

"In the fields of hell where the grass grows high
 Are the graves of dreams allowed to die."
  -- Richard Harter

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