Linux is such a versatile operating system that it’s often difficult to nail down just one-way of doing something. Different distributions go about installing software in different ways, so for this particular tutorial we will stick to Linux Mint.
First you need to ascertain which version of Python is currently installed in your Linux system. To begin with, drop into a Terminal session from your distro’s menu, or hit the Ctrl+Alt+T keys. Next, enter:
into the Terminal screen. You should have the output relating to version 2.x of Python in the display. Most Linux distro come with both Python 2 and 3 by default, as there’s plenty of code out there still available for Python 2. Now enter:
In our case we have both Python 2 and 3 installed. As long as Python 3.x.x is installed, then the code in our tutorials will work. It’s always worth checking to see if the distro has been updated with the latest versions, enter:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
to update the system. Once the update and upgrade completes, enter:
again to see if Python 3.x is updated, or even installed. As long as you have Python 3.x, you’re running the most recent major version, the numbers after the 3. indicate patches plus further updates. Often they’re unnecessary, but they can contain vital new elements.
However, if you want the latest, cutting edge version, you’ll need to build Python from source. Start by entering these commands into the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install build-essential checkinstall
sudo apt-get install libreadline-gplv2-dev
libncursesw5-dev libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev
libgdbm-dev libc6-dev libbz2-dev
Open up your Linux web browser and go to the Python download page: https://www.python.org/
downloads. Click on the Downloads, followed by the button under the Python Source window. This opens a download dialogue box, choose a location, then start the download process.
In the Terminal, go to the Downloads folder by entering:
Then unzip the contents of the downloaded Python source code with:
tar -xvf Python-3.Y.Y.tar.xz (replace the Y’s with the version numbers you’ve downloaded).
Now enter the newly unzipped folder with:
Within the Python folder, enter:
sudo make altinstall
This could take a while, depending on the speed of your computer. Once finished, enter:
to check the latest installed version. You now have Python 3.7 installed, alongside older Python 3.x.x and Python 2.
For the GUI IDLE, you’ll need to enter the following command into the Terminal:
sudo apt-get install idle3
The IDLE can then be started with the command:
Note that IDLE runs a different version to the one you installed from source.
You’ll also need PIP (Pip Installs Packages), which is a tool to help you install more modules and extras. Enter:
sudo apt-get install python3-pip
Once PIP is installed, check for the latest update with:
pip3 install --upgrade pip
When complete, close the Terminal and Python 3.x will be available via the Programming section in your distro’s menu.