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Installing Python 3.6 on Raspbian

Installing Python 3.6 on Raspbian

As of January 2018, Raspbian does not yet include the latest Python release, Python 3.6. This means we will have to build it ourselves, and here is how to do it. There is also an ansible role attached that automates it all for you.

  1. Install the required build-tools (some might already be installed on your system).

    $ sudo apt-get update
    $ sudo apt-get install build-essential tk-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev

    If one of the packages cannot be found, try a newer version number (e.g. libdb5.4-dev instead of libdb5.3-dev).

  2. Download and install Python 3.6. When downloading the source code, select the most recent release of Python 3.6, available on the official site. Adjust the file names accordingly.

    $ wget
    $ tar xf Python-3.6.5.tar.xz
    $ cd Python-3.6.5
    $ ./configure
    $ make
    $ sudo make altinstall
  3. Optionally: Delete the source code and uninstall the previously installed packages. When uninstalling the packages, make sure you only remove those that were not previously installed on your system. Also, remember to adjust version numbers if necesarry.

    $ sudo rm -r Python-3.6.5
    $ rm Python-3.6.5.tar.xz
    $ sudo apt-get --purge remove build-essential tk-dev
    $ sudo apt-get --purge remove libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev
    $ sudo apt-get --purge remove libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev
    $ sudo apt-get --purge remove libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev
    $ sudo apt-get autoremove
    $ sudo apt-get clean

This guide is pretty much taken from the following tutorial: and

# An ansible role to configure python3.6 on a Raspberry Pi.
# to get started, ensure you have ansible installed:
# $ sudo apt install ansible
# Then run this playbook:
# $ ansible-playbook -i localhost, python3.6.yml
# Then you can get started:
# $ python3.6
- hosts: all
version: 3.6.5
threads: 4
- name: "python{{version}} runtime&build dependencies"
become: yes
apt: name={{item}}
- build-essential
- tk-dev
- libncurses5-dev
- libncursesw5-dev
- libreadline6-dev
- libdb5.3-dev
- libgdbm-dev
- libsqlite3-dev
- libssl-dev
- libbz2-dev
- libexpat1-dev
- liblzma-dev
- zlib1g-dev
- name: "Download python{{version}}"
- name: "Unarchive python{{version}}"
- name: "configure python{{version}} build"
command: ./configure
chdir: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}"
creates: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}/Makefile"
- name: "build python{{version}}"
# not using make module to be able to use -j and creates option to fully skip step
command: make -j{{threads}}
chdir: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}"
creates: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}/python"
- name: "install python{{version}}"
become: yes
chdir: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}"
target: altinstall
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dschep commented Mar 18, 2018

And re: getting it as python this guide intentionally uses make altinstall to only install a python3.6 binary to avoid conflicting with any system(apt) provided python installations. I suggest using a virtual env as i mentioned above, when it's activated your python will be python 3.6 that you created the virtualenv with.

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SyntheticDream commented Mar 26, 2018

Distributor ID:	Raspbian
Description:	Raspbian GNU/Linux 9.3 (stretch)
Release:	9.3
Codename:	stretch

Ran into python3.6: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory while building python3.6.4 with --enable-shared. Fixed it as suggested here, by adding /usr/local/lib to /etc/ and running ldconfig.

Another possible fix, as suggested here, would be to modify configure task:

command: ./configure --enable-shared --prefix=/usr/local LDFLAGS="-Wl,--rpath=/usr/local/lib"

BTW, thanks a lot for ansible script, good job.

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ghost commented Apr 3, 2018

Can we bump to update this to reflect the release of 3.6.5?

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dschep commented Apr 4, 2018

@neko404notfound, done. But if using ansible, you can specify the specific version by adding -e version=3.6.5 when calling ansible-playbook

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Can you create a shell or Python script that does this instead of an ansible role?

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yspreen commented May 12, 2018

I checked the latest raspbian for packages that were already installed before I ran the python installation. It was a clean raspbian stretch, literally out of the box. I adjusted the deinstallation lines accordingly:

sudo apt-get --purge remove tk-dev
sudo apt-get --purge remove libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev
sudo apt-get --purge remove libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev
sudo apt-get --purge remove libbz2-dev liblzma-dev

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MartenKL commented May 26, 2018

How to add Idle3.6.5 to Stretch
cd /usr/share/raspi-ui-overrides/applications/
sudo cp idle3.desktop idle3.6.desktop
sudo nano idle3.6.desktop
change contents to:
[Desktop Entry]
Name=Python 3.6 (IDLE)
Comment=Integrated development environment for Python 3.6.5

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DennisNickname commented Jun 12, 2018


I am using an RPi3 with fresh Raspbian Stretch 04/2018. After updating and upgrading I installed Ansible
When i role out the ansible playbook like described i get the following:

ERROR! Syntax Error while loading YAML.

The error appears to have been in '/home/pi/Python3.6.yml': line 57, column 1,but may be elsewhere in the file depending on the exact syntax problem.

The offending line appears to be:

chdir: "/tmp/Python-{{version}}"
target: altinstall

Anyone an idea what I am doing wrong?

Thanks a lot

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Got it installed. Thanks a million!

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Thanks! Seems to be working on my RPi 3 B+ (Raspbian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch)). I just installed Python 3.6.5.

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I have created a version for 3.6.0, 3.6.4 and 3.7.0

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This works extremely well. I wanted to know why the command line asks if I want stable optimizations though? I went ahead and ran the suggested command "./configure --enable-optimizations" what exactly does that do?

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PJaros commented Sep 12, 2018

I needed to add "libffi-dev" as a dependency of raspbian-python3.6.yml
I had to add it to be able to use "pip3.6 install ansible"

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061375 commented Oct 2, 2018

Thanks! Also, RPi 3 B+ (Raspbian GNU/Linux 9 (stretch))

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Im getting a bunch of these on running sudo make:

gcc -pthread -Wno-unused-result -Wsign-compare -DNDEBUG -g -fwrapv -O3 -Wall -Wstrict-prototypes -std=c99 -Wextra -Wno-unused-result -Wno-unused-parameter -Wno-missing-field-initializers -I. -I./Include -DPy_BUILD_CORE -c ./Modules/itertoolsmodule.c -o Modules/itertoolsmodule.o

Is this normal?

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Are there tutorials for cross compiling python 3.6 to the raspberry pi arm from x86_64 ?

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I'm wondering to know if there's a way to cross compile Pytorch on Allwinner platform (AArch64 processor). Leads are greatly appreciated.

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sjkim04 commented Jan 6, 2019

I have the error 'invalid desktop entry' on Raspbian Stretch(RPi 3B+), why?

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hhv commented Feb 1, 2019


the 'sudo make altinstall' failed on my Pi2 because libffi-dev was missing. After running the 'apt-get install' command with libffi-dev added, 'sudo make altinstall' completed OK. See:

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This worked for me-- I'm able to get 3.6.4 (my preferred version) by launching python3.6-- but I wonder if these have been discussed elsewhere:

  1. Is it safe to remake the links in /usr/bin so the various python3's run python3.6?
  2. I'm able to make a virtualenv to install packages for 3.6, but how can I get the RPi library? apt-get installs it for 3.5 into /usr/lib/python3, but python3.6 installs libraries into /usr/local/lib/python3.6. I don't suppose I could [gulp] copy files from 3.5 to 3.6?

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  1. It's heavily discouraged as many under-the-hood scripts and applications rely on the specific version of Python that comes with Ubuntu. However, I have replaced the symlinks and removed older versions of Python in the past without any problems, so I'd suggest make a backup before doing anything, that way if something goes wrong you can revert.

  2. I haven't ever tried this before so I can't help with that one. But I don't think you'd risk breaking anything if you just copied the files over. Worst case scenario you get a Python crash.

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I have seen a few guides for installing before. Mostly they all seem good, so thanks for taking the time to make these. They're very helpful to Linux noobs like me.
My question is about the existing installations of python. I have very limited space on the raspberry pi. How do I delete the old versions of Python? I have 2.7, 3.5, 3.7.3 I will probably keep 2.7 and 3.7 but how do I get rid of the 3.5? Also, is there a way to make 3.7 the default python on my system? Right now I think it's 2.7
Thanks so much.

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@bastisawesome thanks for the reply. I've since decided it doesn't matter for me-- happy to leave 2.7 where it is and to make sure my scripts run the Python I want them to. Using virtualenvs solves most of the issues I was having.

@talderson1, I wouldn't want to actually remove Python 2. Keeping the system small isn't a priority for me (need GB for images and other data) and anyway the sweet spot for SD card pricing seems to be going up and up: fast 16GB cards are <$10 these days.

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Hi i followed your tutorial but when i make python3 my raspbian says 3.5.3

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dschep commented Jul 23, 2019

@Twistere does running python3.6 get you anything different? My guess is your pi already has python3 in some form, and this doesn't supercede that (bc of the use of make altinstall) but rather uses more specific, but non-conflicting names for the binaries.

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@dschep I have followed your installation instructions and got python 3.7 installed successfully. I don't seem to be able to use pip3.7 though. It returns pip3.7: command not found. Is there something special that needs to be done to allow pip to use the latest version?

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appeacock commented Mar 7, 2020

Install pip3 using the python3 version you want:

$ wget
$ python3.6.x ./
$ pip3 --version
pip <version> from /home/pi/.local/lib/<python_version>/site-packages/pip (<python_version>)

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@aplawson I tried following your steps but got bash error:
$ wget
$ python3.6.x ./

bash: python3.6.5: command not found

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Just a formatting comment, it would be nice if the dollar signs were removed from the instructions so people could copy and paste the block.

I can't tell if the raw just isn't showing me this, but if you do:
``` (3 of this ` character) and "shell" then another 3 of that character to close the block, it will format like at terminal.

#code here
echo like this

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Hi, I installed python 3.6.1 like in this quide, but how can I use it? When I type "python" I get python 2.7 or "python3" for python 3.4 but I have no python36 and I have no idea where it is intalled.

Is there a way to make python 3.6 the standart when I type "python"? refer

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