Install Python on a Raspberry Pi: Step-by-Step Guide

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Introduction to Raspberry Pi and Python

Raspberry Pi is a small, low-cost single-board computer developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It was designed with the aim of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools and developing countries.

Python is a high-level programming language that is easy to learn and widely used in various fields, including data science, web development, and automation. Python’s popularity and versatility make it an excellent choice for programming on the Raspberry Pi.

Python is pre-installed on most Raspberry Pi operating systems, making it easy to get started with coding on the Pi. However, if the desired version of Python is not already installed, it can be downloaded and installed from the official website.

Once Python is installed on a Raspberry Pi, it can be used to control various hardware components and sensors, interact with databases, and build web applications, among many other things. With its low cost and easy accessibility, the Raspberry Pi has become a popular platform for both beginners and professionals alike to learn and experiment with Python.

Preparing Raspberry Pi for Python installation

Before installing Python on a Raspberry Pi, there are a few preliminary steps that need to be taken to ensure a smooth installation process.

1.Update the system: It’s always a good idea to update the Raspberry Pi’s package list before installing any software. This can be done by opening a terminal and running the following command:

sudo apt-get update

2. Install necessary packages:

Some packages are required for building and installing Python on the Raspberry Pi. These packages can be installed by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install build-essential tk-dev libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev libreadline6-dev libdb5.3-dev libgdbm-dev libsqlite3-dev libssl-dev libbz2-dev libexpat1-dev liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev libffi-dev

Downloading Python

The next step in installing Python on a Raspberry Pi is to download the Python source code from the official website. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open a web browser on the Raspberry Pi and navigate to the official Python website:
  2. Under the “Download” section, click on the link for the latest version of Python. As of September 2021, the latest version is Python 3.10.0.
  3. On the next page, scroll down to the “Files” section and select the appropriate version of Python for the Raspberry Pi’s architecture. For example, if you’re using a Raspberry Pi 4 with a 64-bit operating system, choose the file with “aarch64” in the name.
  4. Click on the download link for the selected version of Python. This will download the Python source code in a compressed archive (.tar.gz file) to the “Downloads” folder.

Alternatively, Python can also be downloaded and installed using the command line in the terminal, using tools such as “wget”. Here is an example of how to download Python 3.10.0 on Raspberry Pi 4 using the terminal:


This will download the Python source code as a compressed archive to the current directory.

Once the Python source code is downloaded, it’s time to install Python on the Raspberry Pi.

Installing Python on Raspberry Pi

Now that the Python source code has been downloaded, it’s time to install Python on the Raspberry Pi. Here are the steps to follow:

1.Extract and configure Python:

In the terminal, navigate to the directory where the Python source code is located (usually the “Downloads” folder) and extract the compressed archive. For example, if the file is named “Python-3.10.0.tar.xz”, the command would be:

tar -xvf Python-3.10.0.tar.xz

This will extract the contents of the archive to a new directory called “Python-3.10.0”.

Next, navigate to the extracted directory and run the configure script to prepare the build process. The command would be:

cd Python-3.10.0
./configure --enable-optimizations

This will configure Python with optimization flags, which can improve its performance.

2. Build and install Python:

After configuring Python, it’s time to build and install it. In the same directory, run the following command:

make -j 4
sudo make altinstall

The first command builds Python from source, and the “-j” option specifies the number of cores to use during the build process (replace “4” with the number of cores in your Raspberry Pi). The second command installs Python as an alternative version to the system’s default Python interpreter.

3. Verify the installation:

After the installation process is complete, verify that Python is installed and working properly by opening a new terminal and running the command:

python3.10 --version

This should display the version of Python that was just installed.

Congratulations, Python is now installed on your Raspberry Pi! You can start writing Python code and running Python scripts on your Raspberry Pi.

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