Catching up

Richard Laager rlaager at
Mon Jan 8 05:03:41 UTC 2018

On 01/07/2018 08:53 PM, Gary E. Miller via devel wrote:
> On Sun, 7 Jan 2018 18:02:32 -0600
> Richard Laager via devel <devel at> wrote:
>> Debian has two versions of Python. Debian's Python 3.x executable name
>> is python3, so `/usr/bin/env python` gets me Python 2.x. I think this
>> is a great example of this question.
> Just two python's?

Yes, just two. There is one system-wide version of Python 2 and one
system-wide version of Python 3. I assume the the long transition is the
only reason it even has both. If software had been generally ready, they
likely would have transitioned from 2 to 3 directly. In the case of
something like PHP, there is only one system-wide version, even across
the 5.x -> 7.0 boundary.

I did some light looking at eselect, and it seems it uses various
mechanisms under the hood to implement the selection, depending on the

I asked about symlinks because Debian has an "alternatives" system which
is used for a somewhat different purpose. It manages symlinks for
multiple independent implementations providing the same functionality.
For example, it manages whether /usr/bin/awk is provided by gawk or
mawk. It is also system-wide.


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