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Fixing youtube-dl “No such file or directory” error in Ubuntu 20.04

Ubuntu 20

In this article, we will be focusing on how to fix the error “/usr/bin/env: ‘python’: No such file or directory” that occurs in Ubuntu 20.04 when running the youtube-dl command. This error is typically caused by the absence of the python executable or a misconfiguration in the system.

Quick Answer

To fix the "No such file or directory" error in youtube-dl on Ubuntu 20.04, you can either use python3 instead of python when running the command, create a symbolic link between python and python3, update alternatives using the update-alternatives command, install the python-is-python3 package, or use sudo snap install youtube-dl to install youtube-dl via the snap package manager.

Understanding the Error

When you try to use youtube-dl to download videos from YouTube, you may encounter this error. The error message is indicating that the python executable cannot be found in your system. This is because Ubuntu 20.04 uses python3 as the default Python version, not python.

Solution 1: Use python3 Instead of python

The simplest solution is to use python3 when running the youtube-dl command. Here’s an example:

youtube-dl https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4mihzeFqGA

In this command, youtube-dl is the name of the program, and the URL is the video you want to download.

Solution 2: Create a Symlink Between python and python3

Another solution is to create a symbolic link between python and python3. This can be done using the following command:

sudo ln -s /usr/bin/python3 /usr/bin/python

In this command, ln is used to create links between files. The -s option creates a symbolic link, /usr/bin/python3 is the target file, and /usr/bin/python is the name of the link.

Please note that this solution may cause compatibility issues with Python 2 programs. It is recommended to use Python programs that can run under Python 3.

Solution 3: Update Alternatives

If the python variable is not set, the update-alternatives command can be used to configure it. First, install alternatives for Python 2 and 3 using the following commands:

sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python2 2
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python3 3

In these commands, update-alternatives is used to maintain symbolic links. The --install option is used to add alternatives, /usr/bin/python is the link, python is the group, /usr/bin/python2 and /usr/bin/python3 are the files, and 2 and 3 are the priorities.

Then, select the desired Python version using the update-alternatives command:

sudo update-alternatives --config python

In this command, the --config option is used to configure alternatives. Choose the appropriate version and verify the change using python --version.

Solution 4: Install python-is-python3 Package

If you only need Python 3 and don’t require Python 2, you can install the python-is-python3 package. This package creates a symlink between /usr/bin/python and the current default python3 version. Install it with the following command:

sudo apt install python-is-python3

In this command, apt is the package handling utility, install is the command to install a package, and python-is-python3 is the name of the package.

Solution 5: Use sudo snap install youtube-dl

Another option is to install youtube-dl using the snap package manager. This method simplifies the installation process and ensures compatibility. Run the following command to install youtube-dl:

sudo snap install youtube-dl

In this command, snap is the package manager, install is the command to install a package, and youtube-dl is the name of the package.

Conclusion

We have covered several solutions to fix the “No such file or directory” error in youtube-dl on Ubuntu 20.04. It is recommended to try these solutions in the order presented until the issue is resolved. If you encounter any issues, don’t hesitate to ask for help on Ubuntu Forums or Stack Overflow.

What is `youtube-dl`?

youtube-dl is a command-line program used for downloading videos from various video-sharing platforms, including YouTube. It is a free and open-source tool that supports downloading videos in different formats and qualities.

How do I install `youtube-dl` on Ubuntu 20.04?

To install youtube-dl on Ubuntu 20.04, you can use the following command:

sudo apt install youtube-dl

This command will install youtube-dl from the official Ubuntu repositories.

How do I update `youtube-dl` to the latest version?

You can update youtube-dl to the latest version using the following command:

sudo youtube-dl --update

This command will check for updates and update youtube-dl if a new version is available.

Can I download videos from platforms other than YouTube using `youtube-dl`?

Yes, youtube-dl supports downloading videos from various platforms, including but not limited to YouTube. Some other supported platforms include Vimeo, Dailymotion, Facebook, and Instagram. You can use youtube-dl with the respective video URLs from these platforms.

Can I specify the download quality or format with `youtube-dl`?

Yes, youtube-dl allows you to specify the download quality or format using various options. For example, you can use the -f option followed by the format code to choose a specific format. You can also use the --format option to specify a format or quality preference. Refer to the youtube-dl documentation for more information on available options.

Can I download only the audio from a video using `youtube-dl`?

Yes, you can download only the audio from a video using youtube-dl. You can use the -x or --extract-audio option to extract the audio from the video and save it as a separate file. By default, youtube-dl will try to download the best available audio format.

Is it legal to use `youtube-dl` to download videos?

The legality of downloading videos using youtube-dl can vary depending on your jurisdiction and the terms of service of the video-sharing platform. While youtube-dl itself is a legitimate tool, it is important to respect copyright laws and the terms of service of the platform you are downloading from. It is recommended to use youtube-dl for personal and non-commercial purposes and to obtain permission or follow the guidelines set by the platform for any other use.

How can I report issues or contribute to the development of `youtube-dl`?

If you encounter any issues with youtube-dl or would like to contribute to its development, you can visit the official GitHub repository at https://github.com/ytdl-org/youtube-dl/. There, you can report issues, suggest enhancements, and even submit pull requests with your contributions. Make sure to read the guidelines and instructions provided by the project maintainers for contributing effectively.

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