How to Run Python Programs in Linux Command Line

Starting with Python on Linux? Here's how you can run Python programs in the Linux command line.

Running programs is the first step in learning Python. Sure, there are great IDEs to run Python but what if you want to use the terminal only like most pro users do?

Well, in this tutorial, I will walk you through two ways to run Python programs in the Linux command line:

Using the python3 command (easy and recommended for new users):

python3 script.py

Running it as a script:

./script.py

So let's start with the first one.

Using the python3 command (easy)

This is the easiest way to run Python programs in Linux. Why?

Well, all you have to do is follow the given command syntax:

python3 <script.py>

For example, here's a simple Python program that takes input from the user and then prints a greeting message:

def greet():
    # Prompt the user for their name
    name = input("Enter your name: ")

    # Greet the user
    print(f"Hello, {name}! Welcome to the world of Python.")

# Call the greet function
greet()

I've saved this program as hello.py so if I want to run it, then I have to use the following command:

python3 hello.py
Run python programs in Linux using the python3 commmand

As you can see, it asked for the input first and then used the input name to greet the user.

Running Python program as a script

If are familiar with how you run bash scripts in Linux and you want to use a similar approach then this is how you do it.

Things to remember while following this approach:

  • The file will still have the .py extension not the .sh.
  • You have to use the chmod command to make it executable.
  • You're required to use #!/usr/bin/python3 as a shebang.

Let's understand this with a simple example.

I will be using the same greetings program as I used to explain the usage of the python3 command.

First, I will use the nano text to create an empty file as shown:

nano hello.py

Now, I will write the following line of code:

#!/usr/bin/python3

def greet():
    # Prompt the user for their name
    name = input("Enter your name: ")

    # Greet the user
    print(f"Hello, {name}! Welcome to the world of Python.")

# Call the greet function
greet()

You will notice I have used the same code and the only difference is the shebang line used at the beginning of the line.

Once done, save changes and exit from the nano editor.

Next, make the file executable using the chmod command:

chmod +x hello.py

Finally, you can execute it the way you execute scripts in bash:

./hello.py
Run python programs as script in Linux command line

There you have it.

Here's more for Python programming

If you are not comfortable with the terminal usage and still want to learn Python then you can choose from the best Python IDEs for Linux:

7 Best Python IDEs for Ubuntu Linux
Looking to code Python on your Linux system? Here are the best IDEs you can use for Python programming in Linux desktop.

And here are some resources to improve your Python knowledge.

11 Free Courses and eBooks to Learn Python
Wondering how to learn Python for free? We list some of the best Python courses and books that you can use to learn Python online without spending any money.

I hope you will find this guide helpful.

About the author
Sagar Sharma

Sagar Sharma

A software engineer who loves to write about his experience with Linux. While reviving my crashed system, you can find me reading literature, manga, or watering my plants.

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