Although Ubuntu 16.04 release notes mention that:

The default VIM package has been built against python3 instead of python2.

Yet after I installed vim with the following command:

sudo apt-get install vim

And checked:

vim --version

It showed:


Is it a bug? How do I get vim with Python support?


If you want Python 3 support in vim, install the vim-nox package (sudo apt install vim-nox) see edit below.

However, if you still need Python 2 support, install the vim-nox-py2 package (sudo apt install vim-nox-py2).

Edit: vim was recently updated to fix this issue, and you should not need to install the vim-nox package anymore to get Python 3 support.

  • 1
    yeah i did that..but why is the vim package not supporting python? – Saprativa Bhattacharjee Apr 30 '16 at 5:43
  • Ubuntu split the Python support from the main package into two other packages: one that supports Python 2 and one that supports Python 3. After you install one of the above packages, you should be able to use vim with Python 2/3 support. – saiarcot895 Apr 30 '16 at 12:44
  • 1
    isn't it surprising that the vim package itself doesn't support any of the pythons? the release notes mention otherwise. wiki.ubuntu.com/XenialXerus/ReleaseNotes – Saprativa Bhattacharjee May 1 '16 at 7:33
  • @saiarcot895 This apparently works for me. But where did you dig this info up? Is there a Ubuntu wiki documenting how they distribute stuff? – qweruiop Jun 14 '16 at 14:25
  • 2
    Just wanted to add that after installing vim-nox-py2 I needed to run sudo update-alternatives --set vim /usr/bin/vim.nox-py2. I believe, please correct me otherwise, without this vim points to vim.tiny or some such package which doesn't have python support. – DBS Oct 14 '16 at 0:52

In 17.10-18.10 it is difficult to get a copy of vim with both python2 and python3 support. The PPA setup by pi-rho has such packages for previous releases, but nothing yet for 17.10 and later.

This is what I did to get pi-rho packages running:

  1. uninstall all vim packages (this will force you to uninstall "ubuntu-minimal")
  2. download the vim packages from here that end in a "~z"
  3. download the packages perl-modules-5.24,libgdbm3, and libperl5.24
  4. install them using dpkg: go to the download directory and do sudo dpkg -i libgdbm3_1.8.3-14_amd64.deb libperl5.24_5.24.1-2ubuntu1.1_amd64.deb perl-modules-5.24_5.24.1-2ubuntu1.1_all.deb vim*.deb
  5. reinstall "ubuntu-minimal": sudo apt install ubuntu-minimal
  6. lock the vim version
    • open synaptic package manager and highlight the vim packages you just installed. Go to Package->"Lock Version"
    • you may also need to "hold" the packages with sudo apt-mark hold for each of those packages (e.g. sudo apt-mark hold vim-common vim-gnome)

Try installing vim-gnome instead of vim.

sudo apt-get install vim-gnome

If that can help, you can install the package python-support by downloading the latest version of python-support_X.X.X_all.deb there : https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/python-support Open a terminal in same folder and install with:

dpkg -i python-support_X.X.X_all.deb

See if it helps


On Ubuntu 17.10, compiling is the solution that worked for me:

Directly inspired by this gist, I did the following:

sudo apt-get remove --purge vim vim-runtime vim-gnome vim-tiny vim-gui-common
sudo apt-get install checkinstall
sudo rm -rf /usr/local/share/vim /usr/bin/vim
cd /tmp && git clone https://github.com/vim/vim
cd vim/src
make distclean
cd ..
./configure --enable-multibyte --enable-perlinterp=dynamic --enable-pythoninterp=dynamic --with-python-config-dir=/usr/lib/python2.7/config-x86_64-linux-gnu --enable-cscope --enable-gui=auto --with-features=huge --with-x --enable-fontset --enable-largefile --disable-netbeans --with-compiledby="put your name here" --enable-fail-if-missing
sudo make install
sudo ln -s /usr/local/bin/vim /usr/bin/vim

Don't forget to adapt the ./configure parameters so you have all the other features you need.

Now you can open vim and run the command :echo has('python') to confirm you have python 2 enabled.


Installing vim-nox-py2 and then running

sudo update-alternatives --config vim

worked for me.

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