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I thought python 3 is standards on ubuntu 16.04, but to use it I have to type 'python3'. Is there a way to use python instead and python2 for the old version?

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python will always refer to python2 unless the PEP-0394 makes any modification on this to state otherwise (or of course when Python 2 reaches EOL on 2020).

This is to conform to the PEP-0394 standard, Which suggests:

  • python2 will refer to some version of Python 2.x.
  • python3 will refer to some version of Python 3.x.
  • for the time being, all distributions should ensure that python refers to the same target as python2.

The relevant Ubuntu WiKi on Python 3 mentions:

/usr/bin/python will point to Python 3. No, this is not going to happen (unless PEP 394 advocates otherwise, which is doubtful for the foreseeable future). /usr/bin/python and /usr/bin/python2 will point to Python 2.7 and /usr/bin/python3 will point to the latest supported Python 3 version.

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