Hey, trying to install python 2.6 on Linux Mint 11 "katya" 64 bit. I'm about 6 months hobbyist experience with Python and about an hour and a half with linux mint (had toyed with linux a few years back but it went over my head).

Anyway, I'm using the Synaptic package manager to try to install python, but I'm not sure which packages I need. It's got (1) python 2.6 [the obvious choice], (2) python 2.6-minimal [it picked this automatically after I selected the 2.6 so I guess I need it], (3) python2.6-dev Header files and static library for Python (v2.6) [which was not automatically selected], (4) idle-python2.6 An IDE for python (v2.6) using TKinter.

Coming from Windows, it was all download python and then drag your plugins into the python folder and double click the .exe and everything was included (at least IDLE was b/c I was using the Active State version). Now I'm a bit confused.

Perhaps more importantly, now that I think about it, I'm going to be using scipy, numpy, NLTK, matplotlib, some type of database api (MySQL or something I'm not that far yet, so I'm not sure) and maybe some other hard-core scinerd stuff that I don't know about yet. Do I want 2.6 anymore or should I use 2.7? (2.7 appears to have come with Linux mint 11, so I thought I'd ask--why fix what aint broke). But I recall in the past I had 3.1 installed and had learned it and was all groovy, and then I had to go back down to 2.6 b/c the scientific packages were only working with up to 2.6. I'll be using Wing IDE 64 bit, too if that matters. Thanks for the help.

1 Answer 1


While this may be subjective, in my opinion Linux is far more python friendly than windows even if it doesn't seem like it at first. It looks like you've already grabbed everything you need and if you ever have a script that needs something extra it'll let you know from the terminal you're running it in just like in windows.

Plug-ins are added in the same way on most non-pure unix systems (/usr/local/lib/pythonXY/site-packages) so if you ever have to add anything by hand it's pretty easy.

As far as versions, you'll probably want to go with 2.6 in your situation, as a lot of academic projects haven't made the leap to 2.7 and the pythonic userbase in general hasn't made the leap to 3.

  • Thanks for the response. I certainly wasn't criticizing Linux. I actually appreciate the package manager deal b/c I was installing the scientific modules myself but they had similar names to their components (Like "lib") and they needed to be put in the python26 directory, so I appreciate that linux is going to handle that for me. So I will go with 2.6 but do I need all this stuff? e.g., python2.6-dbg (Debug build of the Python interpreter). I guess the real question is: is there any harm to grabbing 6 packages if i don't need them? Will try and see May 16, 2011 at 0:36
  • Generally there's no real harm in grabbing extra packages although if you go overboard updates can get a bit hairy and occasionally packages can conflict but it should warn you in advance of that. I didn't mean to sound defensive btw, but like a lot of people here, I'm what you might call a fanboy.
    – Blomkvist
    May 16, 2011 at 0:49

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