Final Releases of Python 2.7 Scheduled Beyond Its End of Life
Written by Mike James   
Tuesday, 10 September 2019

With official support for Python 2.7 scheduled to end on January 1st, 2020, a FAQ to help people still using Python 2 has been added to the Python website. Details of the very final releases of Python 2.7 have also been made public.


People have been urged to move from Python 2.x to Python 3.x for over a decade, but there has always been resistance to change. Even now, when it's a matter of urgency, there are likely to be up to 15% of Python developers who haven't yet made the move. The new document Sunsetting Python 2 is a mix of gentle exhortation and advice on the part of Sumana Harihareswara who has authored it.

She writes: 

We need to sunset Python 2 so we can help Python users.
....And if many people keep using Python 2, then that makes it hard for the volunteers who use Python to make software. They can't use the good new things in Python 3 to improve the tools they make.

Advice to devs who have created Python 2 code states:

Please read the official "Porting Python 2 Code to Python 3" guide. Please also read the Python 3 Statement Practicalities for advice on sunsetting your Python 2 code.

and to those who depend on software written in Python 2:

Use "Can I Use Python 3?" to find out which tools you need to upgrade to Python 3.

She also provides a list of vendors who provide paid-for services supporting Python 2 codebases or migrating from Python 2 to Python 3.



Given that it was 2010 when we reported:

[Python] 2.7.1 is the last major revision of the version 2 line of Python and marks the move to maintenance only.

and we are now, 9 years later, so close to the Python 2 sunset, it comes as a shock to discover that Python 2.7 is still being updated.

This week Python 2.7 maintainer, Benjamin Peterson, provided the latest, perhaps last ever, schedule for updates. His email to the Python-Dev list has the subject line "The Python 2 death march", which surely conveys reluctance and none of the optimism of "sunsetting" which hints that "tomorrow is another day". Peterson states:

It's finally time to schedule the last releases in Python 2's life. There will be two more releases of Python 2.7: Python 2.7.17 and Python 2.7.18.

Python 2.7.17 release candidate 1 will happen on October 5th followed by the final release on October 19th.

I'm going to time Python 2.7.18 to coincide with PyCon 2020 in April, so attendees can enjoy some collective catharsis. We'll still say January 1st is the official EOL date.

Guido van Rossum named his programming language not after the snake which is now its logo, but for the UK bizarre comedy TV series "Monty Python's Flying Circus". And, to most Pythonistas' delight, something of the absurd has remained with it throughout its career. So it seems perfectly in keeping with the Python ethos that we'll see the very final release of the Python 2 branch, months after its official end of support.

To quote from the "dead parrot sketch":

Mr. Praline: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!

Owner: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.

Mr. Praline: Look, matey, I know a dead parrot when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Owner: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

However, much its devoted followers try to deny it, come 2020 Python 2 will be dead and certainly not just resting.



  • Mike James is the author of Programmer's Python: Everything is an Object published by I/O Press as part of the  I Programmer Library. With the subtitle "Something Completely Different", a blatant Monthy Python reference, this is for those who want to understand the deeper logic in the approach that Python 3 takes to classes and objects.

More Information

Sunsetting Python 2

Python 2.7 Countdown  

Related Articles 

Python 2 End Of Life Threatens Security 

Python 2.7 To Be Maintained Until 2020

New Pythons - 2.7.1 and 3.1.3

Guido van Rossum Quits As Python BDFL

Python Set To Be Top Language

Getting Started with Python

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