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What Python 2.7 EOL Means for Developers and Organizations

Rohan Timalsina

March 26, 2024 - TuxCare expert team

  • Python 2.7 no longer receives official support from the Python Software Foundation (PSF), including bug fixes, security patches, or any other updates.
  • Migrating from Python 2.7 to Python 3.x versions can be costly and time-consuming due to codebase complexity, third-party libraries, legacy systems, and extensive testing.
  • TuxCare offers extended security support for Python 2.7 applications on AlmaLinux 9 by providing security patches for high and critical vulnerabilities.


The initial release date of Python 2.7 was back on July 3, 2010. By default, the end-of-life period is set at 5 years after the initial release, unless it is extended by the release manager. After the extended maintenance period, Python 2.7 officially reached its end of life (EOL) on January 1, 2020. Even though Python 2.7 is no longer supported now, there are some developers and organizations who still use Python 2.7. 


So, what’s the big deal with Python 2.7 EOL?


The consequences are the same as those faced by the end of life for any programming language: lack of official support and vulnerability risks. After the end-of-life date, Python 2.7 stopped receiving bug fixes and improvements, and – most importantly – security patches. As a result, the codebase will be exposed to security vulnerabilities, which may be exploited by cybercriminals.

To understand how this affects developers and organizations, this article takes you through potential implications for anyone still running Python 2.7 EOL and offers strategies to mitigate risks.


Potential Implications of Python 2.7 End Of Life


No More Security Updates


Without security support, new vulnerabilities found in Python 2.7 EOL will not be patched, leaving applications and systems exposed to security risks. Attackers can study publicly available CVEs and easily know the vulnerabilities in Python 2.7.  After that, they can exploit those vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access to systems and data. 


Compliance Issues


For organizations that have compliance and regulatory requirements, running end-of-life systems and software may lead to a serious violation. Most organizations have to follow some kind of compliance, such as PCI DSS (The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) for those who process card payments, ISO/IEC 27001 for those who have to manage information security, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for protection of personal data in the EU. These compliance regimes usually require organizations to keep all systems up to date with the latest patches, and failing to do so could lead to legal fines and penalties. 

Compatibility Problems


As Python libraries, dependencies, and frameworks evolve, they may stop supporting this language version after the Python 2.7 EOL date. As a result, new updates will be incompatible with this EOL version, leading to compatibility issues with newer software components. Furthermore, troubleshooting bugs and resolving compatibility issues become increasingly challenging without official support.


Reputational Damage


On the other hand, organizations that continue to use Python 2.7 risk being perceived as outdated and potentially negligent in their approach to software maintenance. Every security incident that could have been prevented by security updates will damage the credibility and brand image of the organization. The negative publicity not only erodes customer trust but also investor confidence, which can cause financial issues within the organization.


Limited Functionality


New features and functionalities introduced in 3.x versions won’t be available in Python 2.7 EOL version. This can hinder development efforts and restrict the capabilities of your applications. Additionally, Python 2.7 lacks the performance improvements and optimizations available in newer 3.x versions, impacting the efficiency of applications and systems.


Strategies for Migration and Version Upgrades


Assessment and Planning


Based on the size and complexity of the codebase, you can determine the feasibility and required time for a successful migration. Please note the migration process may require careful analysis, modification, and extensive testing to ensure that the migrated code functions correctly.


Upgrade to Supported Python Versions


The effective solution is to migrate your codebase to a supported version of Python, such as 3.8, 3.9, or later. It is advisable to go for a newer version like 3.11 or 3.12 for a longer support period. 


Codebase Compatibility


You will need to update your codebase to ensure compatibility with the new Python 3.x version. Due to several significant changes and improvements made in Python 3.x that are not backward compatible with Python 2.x, the old codes will not function and break your applications. However, there are tools like 2to3 and futurize that can automate the process of converting your Python2.x source code to Python 3.x. It can be very helpful in the migration process.

Also, the packages, libraries, and dependencies used in your application may be incompatible with Python 3. In such cases, you will need to install a compatible version or find an alternative option for them.

Testing Before Actual Migration


Before making changes in the production environment, consider testing your migration in a controlled environment to identify other issues and ensure functionality and performance are not affected. In addition, it is always a good idea to have a backup of applications in case there are unanticipated problems during migration. 


Community and Documentation


Python has a large community support, so make use of community resources, forums, and documentation to overcome migration challenges. You can participate in relevant discussions and seek assistance from other developers going through a similar migration process after the Python 2.7 EOL transition.


Extended Support After Python 2.7 EOL


While migrating from Python 2.7 to Python 3.x versions offers long-term support and security, the process can be costly and time-consuming due to codebase complexity, third-party libraries, and testing requirements. Organizations must carefully evaluate the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of migration based on their specific requirements, resources, and constraints. In some cases, the cost and required time for migration may outweigh the benefits, leading organizations to explore alternative solutions like extended support.

Although Python 2.7 is already end of life, you can continue to use Python 2.7 applications securely on AlmaLinux 9 with the help of TuxCare’s Extended Lifecycle Support for Python 2.7. TuxCare provides security patches for high and critical vulnerabilities and ensures your Python 2.7 applications stay secure and meet compliance requirements.


Final Thoughts


With Python 2.7 EOL, developers and organizations require a proactive approach to migrate to newer supported versions. However, as newer Python versions also approach the end of life, it is essential to prepare for future upgrades to guarantee continued security and support. By adopting a strategic migration approach and utilizing available resources, developers and organizations can ensure a smooth transition and leverage the full potential of the latest Python releases.

If you have any confusion about the TuxCare ELS program for Python 2.7, ask us a question and our experts will get back to you. 

What Python 2.7 EOL Means for Developers and Organizations
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What Python 2.7 EOL Means for Developers and Organizations
Learn about the implications of Python 2.7 EOL for developers and organizations. Discover strategies for migration and version upgrades.
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