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How To Fix “No module named ‘gdbm'” Error in Python 3.5.1 on Ubuntu

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In the world of Python development, encountering errors is a common occurrence. One such error that you may come across while working with Python 3.5.1 on Ubuntu is “No module named ‘gdbm'”. In this article, we will discuss the steps to resolve this issue in detail.

Understanding the Issue

When trying to install Python 3.5.1 on Ubuntu, you may encounter the error message “No module named ‘gdbm'”. The same error might also occur while trying to install Anaconda. Simply installing the gdbm package using sudo apt-get install gdbm does not resolve the issue. This is because the problem lies with the Python version and its associated packages, not with the gdbm package itself.

Solution 1: Installing the python3-gdbm Package

The first solution is to install the python3-gdbm package. This package is associated with Python 3 and needs to be installed for the correct version of Python. Here is the command to do so:

sudo apt-get install python3-gdbm

In this command, sudo is used to run the command with root privileges, apt-get is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, install is the operation to be performed, and python3-gdbm is the name of the package to be installed.

If you are using a different version of Python, replace python3.5 with your Python version in the command.

Solution 2: Removing Conflicting Repositories

Sometimes, the issue might persist due to conflicting repositories. In such a case, you need to remove the conflicting repository. The command to do so is:

sed -i 's/^/#/' /etc/apt/sources.list.d/repository-name.list

In this command, sed is a stream editor for filtering and transforming text, -i is used to edit files in place (i.e., saving back to the original file), 's/^/#/' is the instruction to add a # at the beginning of every line (which comments out the line), and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/repository-name.list is the path of the repository list file. Replace repository-name with the actual name of the conflicting repository.

Solution 3: Downgrading the python3-gdbm Package

If the error still persists, you may need to downgrade the python3-gdbm package. The commands to do so are:

sudo apt install python3-gdbm=3.5.1-1
dpkg -L python3-gdbm

In the first command, sudo apt install python3-gdbm=3.5.1-1 is used to install a specific version of the python3-gdbm package. In the second command, dpkg -L python3-gdbm is used to list files installed to your system from the python3-gdbm package.

Solution 4: Using a Different Python Distribution

If none of the above solutions work, consider using a different Python distribution, such as Miniconda or pyenv. These distributions provide more flexibility in managing Python versions and dependencies.


Resolving the “No module named ‘gdbm'” error in Python 3.5.1 on Ubuntu involves a few steps, from installing the correct python3-gdbm package to removing conflicting repositories or even downgrading the package. If all else fails, switching to a different Python distribution might be the best option. Remember, the key is to ensure that the correct version of python3-gdbm is installed for the specific Python version you are using.

What is the purpose of the `gdbm` module in Python?

The gdbm module in Python provides an interface to the GNU dbm database library. It allows you to create and manipulate key-value pairs in a persistent database, which can be useful for storing and retrieving data in your Python programs.

Why am I encountering the “No module named ‘gdbm'” error?

The "No module named ‘gdbm’" error occurs when Python cannot find the gdbm module during runtime. This can happen if the required package or the correct version of the package is not installed, or if there are conflicts with other repositories or packages on your system.

Can I use a different version of Python with the `python3-gdbm` package?

Yes, you can use different versions of Python with the python3-gdbm package. The package is specific to Python 3, so you need to install the version that corresponds to your Python version. For example, if you are using Python 3.6, you would install the python3.6-gdbm package instead.

How do I check the version of Python I am using?

To check the version of Python you are using, open a terminal and type python --version or python3 --version. This will display the version number of the default Python interpreter on your system.

Can I use a different Python distribution instead of Python 3.5.1?

Yes, if you are unable to resolve the "No module named ‘gdbm’" error, you can consider using a different Python distribution like Miniconda or pyenv. These distributions provide more flexibility in managing Python versions and dependencies, allowing you to install the required packages without conflicts.

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