Python 2 version is officially dead so it’s not available as a default installation on Ubuntu 20.04.

Although Python 2 is dead, you may still need to run some legacy apps using this version so even if not installed by default in your system, it can be easily installed with a few commands.

Throughout this article, you will see:

– How to install Python 2 on Ubuntu 20.04
– How to make Python 2 as a default python interpreter in Ubuntu 20.04

 

How to Install Python 2 on Ubuntu 20.04?

Head back to your terminal and run the following command to install Python 2 on your Ubuntu 20.04 machine:

$ sudo apt install python2
Next, you can run the following command to verify the installed version:
$ python2 -V
Python 2.7.17

Next, let’s make Python 2 the default version instead of Python 3.

Start by checking if you have some python alternatives configured using the following command:

$ sudo update-alternatives --list python
update-alternatives: error: no alternatives for python

This means our system doesn’t have any python alternatives configured.

Now we need to set two Python alternatives, i.e Python2 and Python3 by running the following commands:

$ sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python2 1
$ sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/python python /usr/bin/python3 2

Make sure the two alternatives can be used using the following command:

$ sudo update-alternatives --list python
/usr/bin/python2
/usr/bin/python3

Next, set Python 2 as the default by running the following command:

$ sudo update-alternatives --config python
There are 2 choices for the alternative python (providing /usr/bin/python).

  Selection    Path              Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
* 0            /usr/bin/python3   2         auto mode
  1            /usr/bin/python2   1         manual mode
  2            /usr/bin/python3   2         manual mode

Press  to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 1

Simply, type the corresponding number. For example to set Python 2 we need to type 1.

Finally, you ensure you have made Python 2 the default version in your system by running the following command:

$ python -V
Python 2.7.17

In this article, we have seen how to install Python 2 in our Ubuntu 20.04 development machine and how to configure it to be the default version instead of Python 3.

Keep in mind that Python 2 is officialy dead so it’s not recommended to use it for new projects,