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Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Ship Without Python 2, Windows Printers Detection Affected

Python 2 is one of the most discussed things these days among OS vendors, and most of them want to banish the old technology from their upcoming operating systems, but because not everyone is on par with the latest trends, removing the Python 2 packages from the default install is not easier to do than to state.

While there are still many software packages that have not yet been ported to the relatively new Python 3 technology and still need the Python 2 libraries, one of the main reasons behind the removal of the Python 2 packages from the default install of GNU/Linux distributions is to make the ISO images a lot smaller in size.

Ubuntu developer Barry Warsaw opened up a discussion on one of the project’s mailing lists about the removal of the Python 2 packages from the default ISO images of the forthcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, the Desktop ISOs that is, as the Server and Touch images already no longer contain Python 2 technologies. However, this major change will create problems for some users.

Long story short, removing the Python 2 packages from the ISO images of the upcoming operating system will affect users who need to configure Windows printers after a default install using the automatic detection functionality that will no longer work because of some missing Python 2-based libraries, which could be easily installed from the main software repositories.

“We have one last thing holding Python 2 on the desktop image, and it’s a problematic one: system-config-printer,” said Barry Warsaw. “The downside, of course, is that you won’t be able to automatically detect Windows printers after a default install. For users who don’t have network attached (e.g. IPP) printers, that’s a hardship.”

Several solutions might be available for the issue

Mr. Warsaw also offers a couple of solutions to the problem of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) not automatically detecting Windows printers, and of them is for the user to install the needed Python 2 packages through some of the dependencies of the Deja Dup backup software installed by default in the distribution, just by clicking a button, but it’s a temporary solution.

In the same manner, it might also be possible for Ubuntu developers to implement a runtime check for in the system-config-printer package and see what dependencies are needed for it to work correctly and automatically detect Windows printers. Either way, the future of Ubuntu looks very promising without the old Python 2 technology in it. Let’s hope that not so many users will be affected by the issue.

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