Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" Progress on Python 2 Removal

By Marius Nestor

The upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" operating system are progressing on the removal of the now deprecated Python 2 implementation from their software repositories.

The removal of an older Python implementation from an entire operating system system and its software repositories is a major deal for any OS vendor as it raises many severity issues due to the fact that numerous packages have not been ported to a newer branch, in this case we're talking about the removal of Python 2 and its replacements with Python 3.

For Debian and Ubuntu, whose communities work closely together since the latter is based on the former, the transition from Python 2 to Python 3 started a few years ago, but now it's time for their next major release to ship without any Python 2 packages, though this appears to be a major deal even for some of the biggest GNU/Linux distributions in the world.

"We are aiming to remove Python 2 for the Bullseye release, or at least remove as many Python 2 related packages as possible," said Ondřej Nový and Matthias Klose. "Python 2 is discontinued upstream, but crucially, more and more providers of Python modules don't support Python 2 in either the current or future upstream version."

What you need to do for the Python2 removal in Ubuntu and Debian

The Ubuntu and Debian developers have recently published more information for package maintainers to provide them with guidance in an attempt to accelerate the removal of Python 2 from the upcoming Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa) and Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye" releases.

Therefore, if you currently maintain a Python-based package in the Ubuntu or Debian repositories, you must either convert them to Python 3 as soon as possible, remove any Python 2 you don't plan to port to Python 3, as well as to commit to continuously merge any package supporting both Python 2 and Python 3.

According to the latest statistics, the Debian project already closed half of the 3300 filed bugs related to the Python 2 removal in Debian GNU/Linux 11 "Bullseye," and 350 packages are only available in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS (Focal Fossa). At the moment, both communities warn package maintainers to focus on the packages that can't be migrated and on reducing their number.