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 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 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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.