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How To Fix Python3.7 Errors When Updating to Ubuntu 20.04

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In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to fix Python 3.7 errors when updating to Ubuntu 20.04. This issue often arises due to a conflict between the packages libpython3.7-stdlib and python3.7-distutils.

Quick Answer

To fix Python 3.7 errors when updating to Ubuntu 20.04, you can try manually removing the conflicting packages, using Anaconda/Miniconda to manage Python environments separately, or compiling Python from source. However, it’s important to note that these solutions may have potential risks and should be approached with caution.

Understanding the Issue

Python 3.7 might be installed on Ubuntu 20.04 due to the requirements of certain machine learning libraries that are not supported under Python 3.8, the standard version on Ubuntu 20.04. When updating or upgrading, this conflict prevents the process from completing successfully.

Solution 1: Manually Removing the Problematic Packages

One way to resolve this issue is by manually removing the packages causing the conflict. This can be done by running the following command:

sudo dpkg --remove --force-remove-reinstreq [package name]

In this command, dpkg is the Debian package management system, --remove is used to remove the package, and --force-remove-reinstreq forces the removal of a package even if it’s broken or not fully installed. Replace [package name] with the name of the package causing the conflict, such as libpython3.7-stdlib or python3.7-distutils.

This workaround has allowed some users to continue with the system upgrade. However, it should be used with caution as it could potentially break other dependencies.

Solution 2: Using Anaconda/Miniconda

Another solution is to use Anaconda or Miniconda. These are open-source distribution platforms that allow you to manage Python environments and packages separately from the system’s Python installation, thus avoiding conflicts with system packages.

To install Anaconda, you can follow the official Anaconda installation guide. For Miniconda, refer to the official Miniconda installation guide.

Solution 3: Compiling Python from Source

Compiling Python from source is another option. This involves installing the necessary dependencies and then configuring and building Python. This approach allows for a customized Python installation that can be used alongside the system’s Python.

Here is a brief guide on how to compile Python from source:

  1. First, install the necessary dependencies:
sudo apt-get install -y make build-essential libssl-dev zlib1g-dev libbz2-dev \
libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev wget curl llvm libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev \
xz-utils tk-dev libffi-dev liblzma-dev python-openssl git
  1. Download the Python source code from the official Python website.
  2. Extract the tarball, navigate into the directory, and run the following commands:
./configure --prefix=$HOME/opt/python-3.7.9
make
make install

In these commands, ./configure --prefix=$HOME/opt/python-3.7.9 sets the installation directory, make builds the software, and make install installs it.

Remember to always consult the official documentation or seek additional advice before proceeding with manual package removal or compiling Python from source.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Python 3.7 errors when updating to Ubuntu 20.04 can be resolved in several ways, including manually removing the problematic packages, using Anaconda/Miniconda, or compiling Python from source. It’s important to understand the potential risks and benefits of each method and choose the one that best suits your needs and comfort level.

What are the potential risks of manually removing the problematic packages?

Manually removing packages can potentially break other dependencies and cause system instability. It is recommended to proceed with caution and consult official documentation or seek additional advice before removing any packages.

Can I use Anaconda or Miniconda to manage Python environments on Ubuntu 20.04?

Yes, both Anaconda and Miniconda can be used to manage Python environments on Ubuntu 20.04. These distribution platforms allow you to create isolated environments and install packages separately from the system’s Python installation, avoiding conflicts with system packages.

How do I install Anaconda on Ubuntu 20.04?

To install Anaconda on Ubuntu 20.04, you can follow the official Anaconda installation guide. It provides detailed instructions on downloading and installing Anaconda on various operating systems, including Ubuntu.

What is the difference between Anaconda and Miniconda?

Anaconda is a full-fledged distribution of Python and various data science packages, while Miniconda is a minimal distribution that includes only the conda package manager and Python. With Anaconda, you get a pre-installed set of packages, while with Miniconda, you have more flexibility to choose and install specific packages according to your needs.

How can I compile Python from source on Ubuntu 20.04?

To compile Python from source on Ubuntu 20.04, you can follow the steps mentioned in the article. It involves installing the necessary dependencies, downloading the Python source code from the official Python website, and then configuring, building, and installing Python using the provided commands.

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