Debian and Ubuntu to remove Python 2 packages

Python 2 is set to reach its end of life on January 1st 2020, a mere four months away now. As such, Debian and ultimately Ubuntu will be looking to drop the current Python 2 packages in the next release cycle.

Debian 10 ‘Buster’ has recently been released, and will of course still be supporting Python 2 within its build. However, with an eye to Debian 11, codenamed ‘Bullseye’, the team are going to be dropping the legacy Python 2 code and instead focus on adopting Python 3 in the relevant core packages.


Ubuntu will be moving in a similar fashion, with Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and are currently looking into porting the essential Python 2 core packages as much as possible. Python 2 packages that remain in the repos will naturally also need working on too, and the worry is that a lot of older packages that haven’t been updated for some time will stop working after a certain date.

There are thoughts in the community that this is something that has taken a long time coming. Python 3 has been available for some years now, and there are still some examples of developers insisting on using and teaching Python 2. Many users in the community feel that Python has been dragging its heels, and that everyone should be embracing new versions more frequently.

Python 2 to End

On the flip-side, though, there are some who believe Python 2’s legacy stability is key to Linux’s core stability, and that the upheaval to Python 3 will in fact bring about a generation of versions that could potentially have issues.

Whatever camp you support, we can at least agree that by around 2050, we’ll be having the same discussion with regards to Python 4!

David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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