I've tried the normal way, sudo apt-get install python3.6, but... well... that didn't work.

So, how would I go about it? (I'd preferably not build it on my own)

I'm using Ubuntu 16.04.

  • 5
    Maybe python 3.6 is not available for your distribution. If you have installed aptitude, run aptitude search python3
    – ridgy
    Dec 28, 2016 at 20:13

9 Answers 9


Ubuntu 14.04 (Trusty) and 16.04 (Xenial)

Deadsnakes removed support for 16.04. You can use this unofficial repo for now. https://github.com/deadsnakes/issues/issues/195

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:jblgf0/python
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3.6

J. Fernyhough's PPA used to be an alternative option, but he has shut it down to protest against (ab)use.

You can install pip like this:

curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/pip/3.6/get-pip.py | sudo python3.6

Ubuntu 16.10 and 17.04

If you are using Ubuntu 16.10 or 17.04, then Python 3.6 is in the universe repository, so you can just run:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3.6

After installation for Ubuntu 14.04, 16.04, 16.10 and 17.04

To invoke the Python 3.6 interpreter, run python3.6.

Ubuntu 17.10, 18.04 (Bionic) and onwards

Ubuntu 17.10 and 18.04 already come with Python 3.6 as default. Just run python3 to invoke it.

  • 6
    Note that python3.6 in Ubuntu 16.10 is a beta version that has some problems (like a very painful memory leak in dict that shows up in some rare circumstances). Dec 29, 2016 at 14:40
  • 134
    CAUTION - Do not under any circumstances be tempted to run sudo apt remove python3.5 or anything like it; Python is more fundamentally baked into Ubuntu than you would think, and you could break your Ubuntu install. If you want python3 to map to python3.6, create a symlink instead! Apr 28, 2017 at 9:09
  • 31
    I see there is no python3.6-pip package, and so I used curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/get-pip.py | sudo python3.6 to install pip.
    – Asclepius
    Jun 20, 2017 at 20:26
  • 5
    Somehow python from ppa:jonathonf/python-3.6 arrived with broken pip and no easy_install on 14.04. However, I've managed to fix it by installing easy_install and then reinstalling pip via curl https://bootstrap.pypa.io/ez_setup.py -o - | python3.6 && python3.6 -m easy_install pip Just in case someone runs into the same problem... Dec 3, 2017 at 17:36
  • 6
    Like some other commenters above, I also had trouble getting pip to install with ppa:jonathonf/python-3.6. On the other hand, ppa:deadsnakes/ppa worked flawlessly (apt-get install python3.6 python3.6-venv -y). Feb 26, 2018 at 16:00

I would recommend pyenv to solve your woes. It doesn't use Aptitude, and does involve "building it yourself", but it's fully automated. You can build and install a new (or old) version of Python by simply saying pyenv install 3.6.0. Everything runs as your user, so you don't have to worry about messing up the Python used by Ubuntu itself.

Plus, the answer to the follow-up question "How do I install Python 3.7 using apt-get?" has the same answer: pyenv update; pyenv install 3.7.0. It will generally work same day of a release because you don't need to wait for someone else to package it for Ubuntu. See all the versions you can install with pyenv install --list

Install pyenv

  1. Install tools and headers needed to build CPythons (exotic Pythons like PyPy or Jython may have other dependencies). Git is used by pyenv, plus it also enables builds/installs of source branches, so you could install whatever 3.8 is right now, i.e. the master branch of CPython fresh off GitHub:

    sudo apt-get install -y git
    sudo apt-get install -y build-essential libbz2-dev libssl-dev libreadline-dev \
                            libffi-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev
    # optional scientific package headers (for Numpy, Matplotlib, SciPy, etc.)
    sudo apt-get install -y libpng-dev libfreetype6-dev    
  2. Run the installer script (installs pyenv and some very useful pyenv plugins by the original author; see here for more)

    curl -L https://github.com/pyenv/pyenv-installer/raw/master/bin/pyenv-installer | bash
  3. Add init lines to your ~/.profile or ~/.bashrc (it mentions it at the end of the install script):

    export PATH="$HOME/.pyenv/bin:$PATH"
    eval "$(pyenv init -)"
    eval "$(pyenv virtualenv-init -)"
  4. Restart your shell (close & open or exec $SHELL) or reload the profile script. (with e.g. source ~/.bashrc)


Setting up an environment

To not touch the system Python (generally a bad idea; OS-level services might be relying on some specific library versions, etc.) make your own environment, it's easy! Even better, no sudo, for it or pip installs!

  1. Install your preferred Python version (this will download the source and build it for your user, no input required)

    pyenv install 3.6.0
  2. Make it a virtualenv so you can make others later if you want

    pyenv virtualenv 3.6.0 general
  3. Make it globally active (for your user)

    pyenv global general
  4. Do what you want to with the Python/pip, etc. It's yours.

If you want to clean out your libraries later, you could delete the virtualenv (pyenv uninstall general) or make a new one (pyenv virtualenv 3.6.0 other_proj). You can also have environments active per-directory: pyenv local other_proj will drop a .python-version file into your current folder and any time you invoke Python or pip-installed Python utilities from it or under it, they will be shimmed by pyenv.


  • bash: pyenv: command not found, fish: Unknown command 'pyenv'

    1. Check your $PATH, there should be one entry that ends in something like .pyenv/bin. If it's missing make sure you followed #3 AND #4 (restart your shell) under Install pyenv above.
  • pyenv: no such command 'virtualenv'

    1. If you didn't use the installer script, you likely only installed the root pyenv package. See pyenv-virtualenv for instructions to add the plugin
    2. If you used the installer script, check if it shows up with pyenv commands.
  • 1
    There's one caveat, when using pyenv with Python 2.x (or very old 3.x releases before the new Unicode string internal representation happened): pyenv uses the default upstream compilation flags and builds with 16-bit Unicode strings. Linux distros generally build with 32-bit Unicode strings. This causes pain when you pip install some stuff into both pyenv and non-pyenv Pythons, because the of pip wheel caching. Jan 10, 2017 at 8:34
  • @marius why would you ever use a non-pyenv version after installing it?
    – Nick T
    Jan 10, 2017 at 14:34
  • 3
    I don't know, but I discovered this issue by helping someone on IRC debug a problem where a particular Python package (lxml?) failed to work due to this. So it happens in practice, to some people, and is worth knowing. (The workaround is rm -r ~/.cache/pip/wheels/.) Jan 11, 2017 at 6:30
  • 1
    Does pyenv need to be installed for every user which need Python? And if I have 3 users who need same Python 3.6 version, then it'll have to compile it 3 times and it will take 3x disk space? If that's true then it sucks… :/ Jun 25, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    @SargeBorsch by default (if you use pyenv-installer) it's a user install, but there's nothing preventing you from installing it to /opt or whatever and adding some symlinks to /bin. I find it being user-only to be extremely useful; users don't need sudo (other than libs). Disk space is cheap.
    – Nick T
    Jun 25, 2017 at 15:30

It depends on which version of Ubuntu you are using.

Ubuntu 16.10 and Ubuntu 17.04

Since Python 3.6 is installed in the universe repository of Ubuntu 16.10 and Ubuntu 17.04, you can directly install python 3.6 from the repository. Just use the commands below:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3.6

Ubuntu 16.04

There are two ways to install Python3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04

  • Compile and install python 3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04
  • Install python 3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04 from PPA

1. Compile and install python 3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04

Install the necessary dependencies, download the python 3.6 source code, and build the environment and install

sudo apt install build-essential checkinstall
sudo apt install libreadline-gplv2-dev libncursesw5-dev libssl-dev libsqlite3-dev tk-dev libgdbm-dev libc6-dev libbz2-dev
wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.6.0/Python-3.6.0.tar.xz
tar xvf Python-3.6.0.tar.xz
cd Python-3.6.0/
sudo make altinstall

2. Install python 3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04 from PPA

You can install Python 3.6  from PPA using the commands below

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3.6

If Python 3.6 is correctly installed, you can invoke the python interpreter by running python3.6 in the terminal.

I hope this helps. If you are having any issues, you can check this blog post here.

  • 4
    This is essentially a copy of the accepted answer. Where is the added valuee of your answer? Jan 4, 2018 at 19:28
  • 2
    The first step in the Ubuntu 16.04 is for those who want to compile and install python 3.6 for some reason. The process of compile and install Python 3.6 on Ubuntu 16.04 isn't available in the accepted answer or any answer in the thread for that matter. The other points are to make clear the version of Ubuntu and how it differs from other accepted answers. Jan 5, 2018 at 6:01
  • 1
    PPA installs on 16.04 (Mint) appear broken. The installation from source info is useful. May 7, 2018 at 22:46
  • option 2 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa && sudo apt install python3.6 worked for me on Ubuntu 20.04
    – user677955
    Apr 24, 2020 at 22:38
  • Thanks for python3.6 instructions, kudos to you! Mar 27, 2022 at 14:41

An alternative route if you can't find any working repos would be you could try compiling yourself from source. You can find the source code on the download page. Then download and untar the tarball; for example for Python-3.6.1.tgz.

The process for untarring the tgz file is:

tar -xvzf /path/to/yourfile.tgz

Once you are in the file path the file was unzipped to, run:

make altinstall

And hopefully this should solve the problem for you.

  • 4
    Question says (id preferably not build it on my own). Maybe it'd be better to go the apt route if possible. Dec 28, 2016 at 20:11
  • Ok, I'll have a look see if I can find any alternative repositories for you. Did you get a chance to look on Google for alternative repos yourself yet? I don't want to suggest things you've already tried. Dec 28, 2016 at 20:13
  • I'm not the OP. Just making a suggestion. I couldn't find any PPAs for 3.6, so building might be the necessary route. You should probably address that in your answer though. Dec 28, 2016 at 20:14
  • 1
    Your make commands will fail on a system that the user has never built anything, as there are many packages required. "sudo apt install build-essential libssl-dev zlib1g-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libreadline-dev libsqlite3-dev libgdbm-dev libdb5.3-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev tk-dev"
    – Joe
    Apr 27, 2018 at 15:43
  • Agreed with @Joe. Please also install the packages mentioned here (stackoverflow.com/a/49696062/6907424) before installing Python itself, otherwise using this Python you won't be able to use pip and possibly other issues will also occur. For me, installing packages in the aforementioned link was enough. But I needed to upgrade pip later for my use case.
    – hafiz031
    Sep 2, 2021 at 10:43

Your best bet is to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 and then install it from the deadsnakes PPA:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:deadsnakes/ppa 
sudo apt install python3.6

Otherwise, you can try to figure out how to install the deadsnakes PPA on a version of Ubuntu that they don't support. They only support Long Term Support (LTS) versions of Ubuntu, which 19.04 and 19.10 are not (but Ubuntu 20.04 is). I could've sworn I saw a thread about people doing it somewhere on Github https://github.com/deadsnakes/issues/issues?q=is%3Aissue+is%3Aclosed but I can't find it now.

Also check out this answer about downloading a deb-package https://stackoverflow.com/a/55858634/3064538

But if you can't do any of those, then your last resort is compiling it from source, which you do by first installing a C compiler

sudo apt install gcc

then going to https://www.python.org/downloads/ and finding the latest micro version of 3.6 (3.6.10 as I'm writing this) and compiling it from source, like this

wget -P ~/Downloads https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.6.10/Python-3.6.10.tar.xz
cd ~/Downloads
tar -xJf Python-3.6.10.tar.xz
cd Python-3.6.10

and then

make test
sudo make altinstall

The last command uses altinstall instead of install so that 3.6 is installed as python3.6 and pip3.6. If you change the last command to sudo make install (without the alt) then that will install it as python3, which will overwrite the version of Python 3.7 (and pip) you have installed now.

Updating is left as an exercise for the reader.

  • thanks for this. I guess if I already have 3.6 installed this will not work? I have 3.6.9 and when I ran pthon3.6 the version was still 3.6.9 Dec 8, 2020 at 10:43
  • how did you install 3.6.9? I guess you have to delete whatever files which python3.6 and which pip3.6 return before running make altinstall
    – user677955
    Dec 8, 2020 at 13:32

For Ubuntu 15.10 I installed it successfully using this method:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jonathonf/python-3.6

But I edited this file:

sudo vi /etc/apt/sources.list.d/jonathonf-ubuntu-python-3_6-wily.list

And I changed wily to trusty and then:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python3.6
  • 14
    Ubuntu 15.10? It has gone EOL months ago. Time to upgrade.
    – edwinksl
    Jun 14, 2017 at 7:19
  • "PPA description: This PPA has been removed from public access [...]"
    – user677955
    Jun 18, 2020 at 1:21

Perhaps suggesting Conda isn't a bad idea. I think it's at least easier than using pyenv. But maybe it does depend on what you intend to do with Python after all, because I think with Conda you may end up with some extra packages.

EDIT: It's probably worth mentioning that after you install Conda's default version of Python, you can install the version you need, here 3.6, using conda like

conda install python==3.6

Consider pyenv + pipenv which is to replace using PIP + virtual environments using Pipfile

Then in Pipfile

python_version = "3.6"



First, follow some of the other answers to install Python 3.6 or 3.7. Then, if want to install PyPi packages such as OpenEXR through pip you may get some errors. Some of them (e.g. for OpenEXR's PyPi package) might get resolved by installing Python development package for your newly-installed Python. This can be done using the followings:

sudo apt-get install python3.6-dev


sudo apt-get install python3.7-dev

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