Using system python vs. updated/current version

Prasad, Ramit ramit.prasad at
Wed Jul 31 21:17:34 CEST 2013

memilanuk wrote:
> Hello there,
> What would be considered the correct/best way to run a current release
> of python locally vs. the installed system version?  On openSUSE 12.3,
> the repos currently have 2.7.3 and 3.3.0.  As far as I know, I'm not
> really hitting any limitations with the existing versions - my skills
> just aren't that far along - so its not a burning 'need' but I'm still
> curious/interested in the topic.

You should be able to install both Python 2 and 3 in most modern
Linux distributions (at the same time). I would not change the system
Python version.

If you are not blocked from running Python 3 by some necessary
dependency then you should use it. Otherwise, use the most
recent Python version you can. 

> Also... in some places in the 'Net I see references to installing
> everything 'locally' via pip, etc. in virtualenvs and not touching the
> system installed version of python... yet most linux distros seem to
> have many/most such packages available in their package repos, which
> seems like it'd be easier to install via the package manager and let it
> keep things updated.  Could someone touch on what they feel the pros and
> cons would be either way?

Virtual envs are great if you work on multiple projects and want to 
keep each project's dependencies separate and manageable. This
will let you change dependencies to a newer version based on project 
rather than having to change the dependency for all projects.

Not to mention this also allows you to install packages on hosts
that you do not have access to install them to the system
packages directory.

On a personal machine, I would install some things like pip/virtualenv 
(/numpy maybe) to system packages directory but keep most packages in 
a project specific directory (i.e. virtualenv).

> Thanks,
> Monte

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