I would like to avoid backports, they always seem to mess up my packages.

So I was thinking tools like conda / virtualenv / maybe even docker can help. What's the most simple / cleanest way to work with python 3.7 on my system?

  • 1
    Look into pyenv Jul 1, 2018 at 21:06

3 Answers 3


It would be wise to use pyenv to safely manage multiple versions of Python installed on the same system.

Nonetheless, this should get you up and running with Python 3.7.10 on Ubuntu 16.04

# WARNING: As of April 30th 2021, Ubuntu Linux 16.04 LTS will no longer supported
# NOTE: It appears that Python 3.7.* has arrived into maintenance mode and will likely
# only be getting security updates.  See release notes https://www.python.org/downloads/release/python-3710/

# Install requirements
sudo apt-get install -y build-essential \
checkinstall \
libreadline-gplv2-dev \
libncursesw5-dev \
libssl-dev \
libsqlite3-dev \
tk-dev \
libgdbm-dev \
libc6-dev \
libbz2-dev \
zlib1g-dev \
openssl \
libffi-dev \
python3-dev \
python3-setuptools \

# Prepare to build
mkdir /tmp/Python37
mkdir /tmp/Python37/Python-3.7.10
cd /tmp/Python37/

# Pull down Python 3.7.10, build, and install
wget https://www.python.org/ftp/python/3.7.10/Python-3.7.10.tar.xz
tar xvf Python-3.7.10.tar.xz -C /tmp/Python37
cd /tmp/Python37/Python-3.7.10/
./configure --enable-optimizations
sudo make altinstall

Then you would just call Python like so:

python3.7 ./yourScript.py

This is a screenshot of multiple versions of Python co-existing in a docker container and how they can be distinguished:

How to call Python different versions

Pip should have been installed with this installation as well. To install packages use this format:

pip3.7 -V
  • 2
    This works like a charm. I was able to install python3.7. only caveat is to use sudo make altinstall since the directory access was not to the normal user. all apt-get were installed using sudo as well. Thanks a ton for sharing the info.
    – Doogle
    Aug 25, 2018 at 12:50
  • The accepted answer worked fine for me, with one caveat; I had to apt install libffi-dev as well to avoid the follwing error in the altinstall step (Ubuntu 16.04 LTS): python ModuleNotFoundError: No module named '_ctypes'
    – moshisushi
    Aug 28, 2018 at 9:13
  • @moshisushi I ran into that problem as well when I was working towards a resolution. For that reason, I already included libffi-dev in the initial install.
    – Sn3akyP3t3
    Sep 30, 2018 at 16:17
  • 1
    @Doogle Prefixed commands with sudo where needed. Thanks for pointing that out. These steps were pulled from my Docker container build steps which assumed root user.
    – Sn3akyP3t3
    Sep 30, 2018 at 16:23
  • How to migrate the python 3.7 installed using this method, to its latest patch version? Sep 12, 2020 at 10:48

I would not recommend manually fiddling around with source code installations and paths. Use pyenv and save yourself the trouble.

All you have to do is:

  • Run the pyenv installer
  • Follow the instructions
  • Install the Python versions you need
  • Choose which Python version you want to use for a given directory, or globally

For example, to install 3.7, check which versions are available:

pyenv install -l | grep 3.7

Then run:

pyenv install 3.7.1

Now, you can choose your Python version:

pyenv global 3.7.1

This switches your python to point to 3.7.1. If you want the system python, run:

pyenv global system

To check which Python versions are available, run pyenv versions.


You can download the source code from www.python.org, compile and build it from source, and then either:

1) Prepend the path to the python executables to PATH and the libraries to LD_LIBRARY_PATH.

2) Do what I did and compile and build it from source and make symlinks to the executables in /usr/bin. You can call it python37 to distinguish it from the python 3.5 which is already installed.

The first method will use it in your environment by default whereas with the second on, you'll have to specify it with the command you used for the symlink. You might want to use the second method first before you make it the default as python 3.7 is still in development.

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