Python3 can't co-exist with Oracle's VirtualBox on 20.10

Bug #1899288 reported by Roger on 2020-10-10
This bug affects 5 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
dh-python (Ubuntu)
what-is-python (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Sorry I couldn't file this bug against the correct packages. The form told me there are no such packages as python-is-python3 and dh-python in Ubuntu...

Release: Groovy Gorilla (Ubuntu 20.10).

Package versions:
python-is-python3 3.8.2-4
dh-python 4.20200925

The release of Ubuntu 20.10 is less than two weeks out, so I'd like to draw attention to a problem I've run into. It seems that 20.10 defaults to python3 and wants to install python-is-python3, which pulls in the latest version of dh-python, which in turn can't co-exist with Oracle's Virtualbox-6.1 and wants to uninstall it.

I don't mind having _both_ python2 (apparently a requirement of VirtualBox) and python3 installed. But as of right now I can have either python-is-python3, and not be able to do a complete upgrade since virtualbox-6.1 will be uninstalled, or python-is-python2, in which case I cripple 20.10's python3 install, since I won't get dh-python and python-six.

Ia there something the python packagers do about this?

Thank you for taking the time to report this bug and helping to make Ubuntu better. It seems that your bug report is not filed about a specific source package though, rather it is just filed against Ubuntu in general. It is important that bug reports be filed about source packages so that people interested in the package can find the bugs about it. You can find some hints about determining what package your bug might be about at You might also ask for help in the #ubuntu-bugs irc channel on Freenode.

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tags: added: bot-comment
Paul White (paulw2u) on 2020-10-10
affects: ubuntu → what-is-python (Ubuntu)
tags: added: groovy
removed: 20.10
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in dh-python (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in what-is-python (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Brian Murray (brian-murray) wrote :

I'm sorry but I'm not following along with the issue you are describing. Could you please provide instructions so I can recreate the problem you are seeing? Additionally, are you using virtualbox from the official Ubuntu archive?

Additionally, python-is-python3 only depends on python3 and not dh-python as you've described.

Changed in what-is-python (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
DJ (twk3) wrote :

I ran into the same problem. During dist-upgrade it wanted to remove python2 and virtualbox, but upgrade dh-python. The upgraded dh-python doesn't work with virtualbox.

I uninstalled dh-python, let dist-upgrade do what it wanted, then re-installed virtualbox, and that seemed to make everything happy.

SimonFoley (simon-d-foley) wrote :

Same issue: after upgrading from Ubuntu 20.04 to 20.10 my Virtualbox installation was missing (removed as part of the upgrade). Attempts to re-install indicated a conflict between the python pre-req and dh-python. I performed the following and all appears to be working now:

sudo apt remove dh-python
sudo apt install ./virtualbox-6.1_6.1.16-140961~Ubuntu~eoan_amd64.deb
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Sergio Callegari (callegar) wrote :

Still true of the deb packages provided by upstream for Virtualbox 6.1.18.

The problem is really with the packaging on their side which does not target ubuntu 20.10. In fact, they say so by indicating that they have a deb up to 19.10 and 20.04.

I guess there is little that ubuntu can do if Virtualbox does not want to package a deb for ubuntu 20.10 that is not an LTS. Most likely, they'll stick to 20.04 and start supporting newer ubuntu at 21.10 in preparation for the 22.04 LTS release.

On the other hand, I believe that ubuntu could help a lot here by making the current virtualbox always available in testing version on a PPA.

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