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I am looking to setup an HPC cluster so that it has a modern installation of Python with Numpy/Scipy on the compute nodes.

The version of Linux we are using has Python 2.4 installed by default. I know there have been a number of new features and fixes since then. Is it a good idea to install Python 2.6 or 2.7 on the nodes as well? Are there any potential downsides to upgrading to a newer version in a production HPC environment?

I hope this is the right forum for this question, if not please help me migrate it to the right one within the StackExchange family.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no reason not to install a newer version of Python as long as you do not replace the system version. Because a number of the system tools (and other packages) may make assumptions about the version of Python installed you can break things if you replace it.

If you install the new Python into an alternate location everything will work just fine.

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Thanks - that's great. Does anybody know if there are any speed or performance issues with 2.6 vs 2.7 ? – dtlussier Nov 19 '10 at 20:00

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