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Python egg releaser

mkrelease is a no-frills Python egg releaser. It is designed to take the cumber out of building and distributing Python eggs.

Also see jarn.viewdoc.


Python eggs are great, and we strive to release all software in egg form. However, as projects grow larger and are comprised of more and more eggs, release requirements can become a burden.

This is because it takes some work to put a new egg on a distribution server. After preparing a package for release (update version strings, etc.), we typically have to:

  1. Commit modified files.
  2. Tag the release.
  3. Package up an egg.
  4. Distribute the egg via scp or upload it to an index server.

Now imagine doing this a lot, and the need for automation becomes obvious.


mkrelease works with Python 2.6 - 3.4 and all released versions of setuptools and distribute.

Use easy_install jarn.mkrelease to install the mkrelease script. Then put it on your system PATH by e.g. symlinking it to /usr/local/bin.


mkrelease [options] [scm-url [rev]|scm-sandbox]


-C, --no-commit
Do not commit modified files from the sandbox.
-T, --no-tag
Do not tag the release in SCM.
-S, --no-upload
Do not upload the release to dist-location.
-n, --dry-run
Dry-run; equivalent to -CTS.
--svn, --hg, --git
Select the SCM type. Only required if the SCM type cannot be guessed from the argument.
-d dist-location, --dist-location=dist-location
An scp or sftp destination specification, an index server configured in ~/.pypirc, or an alias name for either. This option may be specified more than once.
-s, --sign
Sign the release with GnuPG.
-i identity, --identity=identity
The GnuPG identity to sign with. Implies -s.
-p, --push
Push sandbox modifications upstream.
-e, --develop
Allow version number extensions (i.e. don't ignore respective setup.cfg options). Implies -T.
-b, --binary
Release a binary (bdist) egg.
-q, --quiet
Suppress output of setuptools commands.
-c config-file, --config-file=config-file
Use config-file instead of the default ~/.mkrelease.
-l, --list-locations
List known dist-locations and exit.
-h, --help
Print the help message and exit.
-v, --version
Print the version string and exit.
The URL of a remote SCM repository. The optional rev argument specifies a branch or tag to check out.
A local SCM sandbox. Defaults to the current working directory.


Release my.package and upload it to PyPI:

$ mkrelease -d pypi src/my.package

Release my.package and upload it via scp to the server:

$ mkrelease -d src/my.package

Release my.package using the repository URL instead of a local working copy:

$ mkrelease -d pypi

Release a development egg of my.package while suppressing setuptools output:

$ mkrelease -qed src/my.package


mkrelease reads available index servers from the distutils configuration file ~/.pypirc. This file must contain your PyPI account information:

index-servers =

username = fred
password = secret

mkrelease also reads its own configuration file ~/.mkrelease. Here's an example:

distbase =
distdefault = public

public =
customerA =
world =

(Note that pypi refers to the index server pypi as configured in ~/.pypirc above.)

Armed with this configuration we can shorten example 2 to:

$ mkrelease -d public src/my.package

And because public is the default location, we can omit -d entirely:

$ mkrelease src/my.package

Working with SCP

The simplest distribution location is a server directory shared through Apache. Releasing an egg just means scp-ing it to the appropriate place on the server:

$ mkrelease -d src/my.package

We have a distribution point for every project, so customer A does not see customer B's releases:

$ mkrelease -d src/my.package

Typing the full destination every time is tedious, even setting up an alias for each and every customer is, so we configure distbase instead:

distbase =
distdefault = public

world =

The distbase is prepended when an scp destination does not contain a host part. We can now write:

$ mkrelease -d public src/my.package
$ mkrelease -d customerB src/my.package

Working with SFTP

To upload via sftp instead of scp, specify the destination in URL form:

$ mkrelease -d s src/my.package

For consistency scp URLs are supported as well:

$ mkrelease -d scp:// src/my.package

Note: Unlike scp, the sftp client does not prompt for login credentials. This means that for sftp non-interactive login must be configured on the destination server.

Working with Index Servers

Another way of distributing Python eggs is by uploading them to dedicated index servers, notably PyPI. Given the ~/.pypirc file from above we can release to PyPI by typing:

$ mkrelease -d pypi src/my.package

Index servers are not limited to PyPI though. For example, in the Plone world it is common practice to upload packages to as well as to PyPI.

We extend our ~/.pypirc to add a second index server:

index-servers =

username = fred
password = secret

repository =
username = fred
password = secret

This allows us to release to by typing:

$ mkrelease -d plone src/my.package

The -d option can be specified more than once:

$ mkrelease -d pypi -d plone src/my.package

Alternatively, we can group the servers by creating an alias in ~/.mkrelease:

plone-world =

And type:

$ mkrelease -d plone-world src/my.package

Note: Setuptools rebuilds the egg for every index server it uploads it to. This means that MD5 sums and GnuPG signatures will differ between servers. If this is not what you want, upload to only one server and distribute from there by other means.

Releasing a Tag

Release my.package from an existing Subversion tag:

$ mkrelease -T

With Mercurial and Git we can use the second argument to specify the tag:

$ mkrelease -T 1.0

Using GnuPG

Release my.package and sign the archive with GnuPG:

$ mkrelease -s -i src/my.package

The -i flag is optional, and GnuPG will pick your default key if not given. In addition, defaults for -s and -i can be configured in ~/.pypirc, on a per-server basis:

index-servers =

username = fred
password = secret
sign = yes
identity =

repository =
username = fred
password = secret
sign = no


The following commands must be available on the system PATH (you only need what you plan to use):

  • svn
  • hg
  • git
  • scp
  • sftp
  • gpg



The release tag can only be created if the repository follows one of these layouts:

  • The standard Subversion layout: my.package/trunk, my.package/branches, and my.package/tags.
  • The singular-form layout variant: my.package/trunk, my.package/branch, and my.package/tag.
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