I have just migrated from Windows environment. I have installed Python 3.2 in a separate directory. How can I get the python installation path in Ubuntu shell?

Is there any way I can let the shell know/choose at runtime which python version is to be used for further code execution?

Are there any environment variables and search path kind of things in Ubuntu Linux as well?

5 Answers 5


First question:

which python though its usually /usr/bin/python for the 2.7

Second question:

From a terminal & python2.7: python2.7 yourfile.py.
Simailarly for 3.2: python3.2 yourfile.py though 3.2 isn't installed by default. (You can apt-get install python3.2.)

What python yourfile.py will do depends on which alternative is used for your python interpreter. You can change that by issuing update-alternatives python as root (or by using su).

Third question:

Environment variables are shell dependent, though you can write them out with echo $variable and set them with variable=value (from bash). The search path is simply called PATH and you can get yours by typing echo $PATH.

I hope this was helpful.

  • Thanks @Wolfer ! Answer was indeed helpful and much appreciated. If somebody like me has changed default python 3 installation path then .. ? How can I check path and run using this version ? Feb 27, 2013 at 19:56
  • Also, I am not getting any output for $echo $variable Feb 27, 2013 at 19:59
  • 3
    which python2.7 and which python3.2 will return each interpreter's install path (or return nothing if it's not installed).
    – Wolfer
    Mar 2, 2013 at 17:18

If you want to find the location of a program you can just use whereis <program>.

In your case run:

whereis python2.7
whereis python3.2

For finding every file that apt-get has copied for installation use:

dpkg -S python2.7
dpkg -S python3.2

But maby it is recommend to save it in a textfile, because the output is to large.

dpkg -S python2.7 >log.txt
gedit log.txt

for running .py file with python 3.2

python3.2 <file.py>
  • 1
    Thanks @Thomas ! This command 'whereis python2.7' is displaying many paths, but I think there has to be single python installation directory ! Feb 27, 2013 at 20:08
  • 1
    dpkg -S python2.7 shows all the files of python2.7. "/usr/lib/python2.7" is the directory of python2.7.
    – Thomas15v
    Feb 27, 2013 at 20:12
  • I m a bit confused, /usr/bin/python is the default shebang we use while python package is located at /usr/lib/python2.7 ? Is that true ?? Feb 27, 2013 at 20:25
  • /usr/lib/python is the program. In linux evry file can be a program. If you come from window it is confused.
    – Thomas15v
    Feb 27, 2013 at 20:58

Here is a simple way, run in terminal:

type -a python


type -a python3
  • 1
    This is a great answer. Old schooled bash to the rescue :D Thankyou for sharing Feb 15, 2022 at 13:27
  • 1
    A little bit of detail about what the type command is and what it does, particularly with the -a argument, would be helpful. Mar 13, 2022 at 16:57

For Python2.7

whereis python2.7 

For Python3.2

whereis python3.2

For Python 3.8

which python3


whereis python3
  • Doesn't really add anything to the other answers...
    – Ravexina
    Aug 6, 2020 at 18:23
  • @Ravexina Python 3.8 and made it little simple.
    – user1114053
    Aug 6, 2020 at 18:27

In the Python interprete, run these two commands:

>>> import sys
>>> sys.path

and one of those outputs will be the installation path

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