Programming language Python 2.7 code is now frozen: Last release coming in April

Python 2 may have reached end of life but, as planned, a last major version of 2.7 will be released in April 2020.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

As of January 1, 2020, the Python 2.7 countdown clock stopped ticking over, suggesting this branch has been officially retired as per plans announced last March.   

But Python 2.7 hasn't quite reached end of life just yet. Despite the apparently firm January 1, 2020 cut-off for Python 2, the Python Software Foundation (PSF) recently announced "Python 2 series to be retired by April 2020".   

"The last major version 2.7 will be released in April 2020, and then all development will cease for Python 2. Users are urged to migrate to Python 3 to benefit from its many improvements, as well as to avoid potential security vulnerabilities in Python 2.x after April 2020," PSF said.

SEE: How to build a successful developer career (free PDF)

While Python 2's end of life has been a long-time coming, it's expected that some industries, such as finance, will continue to use Python 2.x code for years to come

The final 2.7 release was originally scheduled for 2015 but it was extended by five years to give organizations and developers time to migrate to Python 3.

Big tech companies such as Facebook, Instagram, and Dropbox have completed massive Python 3 migrations in the past few years, but banking giant JPMorgan reportedly still has millions of lines of Python 2 code behind its Athena trading platform. 

The apparent move to April has upset at least one administrator who has been keeping an eye on PSF's Python 2 countdown clock for half a decade and prepping his organization for the break. He was not happy to discover that in fact PSF will release Python 2.7.18 in April. 

"[O]ver the last five years I've put in a huge amount of work to ensure that my organization is ready for Python 2's end of life. Shipping another Python 2 release months afterward undermines the goal I've worked towards and the deadline I set my organization," wrote Python user Daniel Pope

But perhaps Pope has been treating the clock too literally. 

As lead Python project contributor Benjamin Peterson commented in March 2018, when the deadline was announced: "I've updated the [Python Enhancement Proposals] to say 2.7 is completely dead on January 1, 2020. The final release may not literally be on January 1, but we certainly don't want to support 2.7 through all of 2020." 

The PEP states that Python 2.7.18 "code freeze" will happen in January, 2020 and that 2.7.18 will be released in mid-April, 2020. 

SEE: Programming languages: How Instagram's taming a multimillion-line Python monster

But the message from the CPython core developer community about Python 2 remains the same: migrate to Python 3 because it's better, and security vulnerabilities won't be fixed after April 2020. 

Last August, the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said organizations should see security risks and possible code breakages in existing apps as the primary reasons for migrating to Python 3.

According to JetBrains, the maker of Python IDE, in 2019 about 90% of developers have moved on to Python 3, which was up from 75% in 2018. The two most common uses of Python are data analysis and web development. 

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