General-purpose, high-level programming language supporting multiple programming paradigms.

Multiple Python interpreters

If you are working on a piece of Python software, you probably want to test it on multiple Python interpreters. On Fedora, that’s easy: all you have to do is use dnf to install what you need. Currently Fedora has the following Pythons ready for you in the repositories:

  • CPython 3.8
  • CPython 3.7
  • CPython 3.6
  • CPython 3.5
  • CPython 3.4
  • CPython 2.7
  • CPython 2.6*
  • PyPy
  • PyPy 3
  • Jython*
  • MicroPython*

Quite a nest, isn’t it? You can install them like this:

$ sudo dnf install python38  # to get CPython 3.8
$ sudo dnf install python37  # to get CPython 3.7
$ sudo dnf install python34  # to get CPython 3.4
$ sudo dnf install python26  # to get CPython 2.6
$ sudo dnf install pypy pypy3 jython python35  # to get more at once

After that, you can run an interactive console or your script with, let’s say, CPython 3.4:

$ python3.4
Python 3.4.3 (default, Jul 11 2016, 11:30:44) 
[GCC 5.3.1 20160406 (Red Hat 5.3.1-6)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.

Warning: For production purposes you should use the python3 or python2 packages only. Other CPython versions might be unstable or even dangerous (either because they are extremely old or quite the contrary alpha/beta quality) and are intended solely for development.

* Interpreters marked with * do not work with Tox and virtualenv packaged in Fedora. For using tox, virtualenv or pip with these interpreters, see the bottom sections of this page.

Getting it and running it all with tox

Tox is tool that helps you test your Python code on multiple Pythons. If you install it on Fedora via the dnf package manager, you’ll automatically get all supported CPythons and PyPys:

$ sudo dnf install tox

If you are not yet familiar with tox, don’t worry. This short example will show you how to start.

Let’s create a directory and a simple Python file in it that will say something nice:

print('Fedora is the best OS for Python developers', end='\n\n')

Now we’ll test if it works with all the Pythons, with tox. We’ll create a simple configuration file for tox, tox.ini, in the same directory:

envlist = py27,py35,py36,pypy,pypy3
skipsdist = True

The envlist directive defines the list of Pythons to test on. Normally, tox assumes you are testing a project with its own For the simplicity of this demo, we are not using it, and we need to tell this to tox via the skipsdist option. Finally the commands in [testenv] section tells tox what commands to run for the test, normally that would be python test, py.test or similar.

With tox.ini, just run tox in the same directory:

$ tox
ERROR:   py27: commands failed
  py35: commands succeeded
  py36: commands succeeded
ERROR:   pypy: commands failed
  pypy3: commands succeeded

As you can see, there’s something wrong with the script: it only works on Python 3. The full tox output (omitted here) contains the exact error. If you want to support old Python 2 as well, you’ll have to fix it:

from __future__ import print_function
print('Fedora is the best OS for Python developers', end='\n\n')
$ tox
  py27: commands succeeded
  py35: commands succeeded
  py36: commands succeeded
  pypy: commands succeeded
  pypy3: commands succeeded
  congratulations :)

If you want to use tox for your projects, you can learn more at the documentation.

Creating virtualenvs and installing packages

Fedora only packages Python modules for current versions of python2 and python3. For all other interpreters, you will need to install packages from PyPI, the Python Package Index.

The best way is to use Python virtual environments (virtualenvs, or venvs). The invocation to create them differs for different Python versions. Packages installed in a virtualenv are only available once the virtualenv is activated. Here you can see two demos that create virtualenv in a folder named env and install some package into it.

Python 3 (including PyPy 3)

Recent versions of Python 3 include the venv module, which can create virtual environments.

$ python3.5 -m venv env  # create the virtualenv
$ . env/bin/activate  # activate it
(env)$ python -m pip install requests  # install a package with pip
(env)$ python  # run python from that virtualenv
Python 3.5.2 (default, Aug 16 2016, 21:50:46) 
[GCC 5.3.1 20160406 (Red Hat 5.3.1-6)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import requests
>>> ...
(env)$ deactivate  # go back to "normal"

Python 2.7, PyPy 2

For other Python versions, a tool called virtualenv can create virtual environments:

$ dnf install /usr/bin/virtualenv  # install the necessary tool
$ virtualenv --python /usr/bin/python2.7 env  # create the virtualenv
Running virtualenv with interpreter /usr/bin/python2.7
New python executable in env/bin/python2.7
Also creating executable in env/bin/python
Installing setuptools, pip...done.
$ . env/bin/activate  # activate it
(env)$ python -m pip install requests  # install a package with pip
(env)$ python  # run python from that virtualenv
Python 2.7.11 (default, Jul  8 2016, 19:45:00) 
[GCC 5.3.1 20160406 (Red Hat 5.3.1-6)] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import requests
>>> ...
(env)$ deactivate  # go back to "normal"

To learn more about virtualenvs, visit The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Python.

Python 2.6, Jython

The versions of virtualenv and tox packages in Fedora do not support the following interpreters:

  • Python 2.6
  • Jython

If you really need to support such old interpreters, you will need to work around some issues or install and use older virtualenv/tox from PyPI.

A workaround for Python 2.6 is to chnage the install and the list_dependencies commands with a tox.ini configuration like:

install_command = pip install {opts} {packages}
list_dependencies_command = pip freeze
basepython = python2.6

A more generic approach is to install an older version of tox that still supports these python versions:

First, create a virtual environment with a newer Python, preferably python3:

$ python3 -m venv py3env
$ . py3env/bin/activate  # activate it

Then, install older packages (virtualenv 15 and tox 2) into it:

(py3env)$ python -m pip install 'virtualenv<16' 'tox<3'

Now, whenever the Python 3 virtual environment is activated, you can invoke tox 2 using the tox command. Include py26 and/or jython in the envlist section in tox.ini to test on the old interpreters.

You can also use the older virtualenv to create environments for Python 2.6 or Jython:

(py3env)$ python -m virtualenv --python /usr/bin/python2.6 py26env
(py3env)$ python -m virtualenv --python /usr/bin/jython jyenv

To activate these, you don’t need the py3env activated. That is only needed to create them.

$ . py26env/bin/activate
(py26env)$ python --version
Python 2.6.9
(py26env)$ deactivate
$ . jyenv/bin/activate
(jyenv)$ python --version
Jython 2.7.1
(jyenv)$ deactivate


MicroPython does not support virtual environments. It does have a rudimentary pip replacement called upip, which you can use to install packages that support MicroPython. Run it to find out more:

$ micropython -m upip

Authors: Miro Hrončok, Petr Viktorin, Till Maas