Utilities for the Python-based Fabric deployment system
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Fabric Utilities

Helpers for the Fabric deployment system for securely configuring servers.

Problem: you need to configure server applications through an automated script, but prefer to avoid passing sensitive passwords directly through the command line. The command line isn't guaranteed to be secure—passwords given as arguments may be saved to disk in the shell command history, appear to other logged-in users running ps, etc.

Or you need to connect to a remote service (like source control) during deployment, but would rather not leave the passwords in plain text files on the server. If the server were ever compromised, the fewer sensitive passwords lying around in various places the better.

Solutions: run_prompted and run_script. (Along with two helpers, sudo_put_data and put_data).


Extends Fabric's sudo prompt mechanism to many other types of password prompts. You could use it to supply a root user password while setting up or connecting to a database, or to supply a version control system with a password for a remote source code repository.


run_prompted(command, password='', prompt='Password[^:]*: ', pty=True)

prompt gives a regular expression matching the remote prompt. Fabric will add anchors to make it match an entire line.

If the password param is non-empty, use it as the password. Otherwise prompt locally.

Returns the password (either default or user-entered), which the caller can then supply as the password parameter to subsequent run_prompted calls involving the same system.


The prompt displayed locally is the same as the one displayed for sudo passwords ('Password for username@host:'), which may be misleading. But attempting to customize it would be too hacky, even for this function.


Runs a (multi-line) string as a script on the server. The string could be a shell script or some other type of content that can be run by an an interpreter. This command saves the script as a temporary file on the server, runs it, and deletes it afterwards.

Password prompts raised by the script, directly or indirectly, can be answered as in run_prompted above.

The advantage of using this command instead of passing the statements to "run" (or of using "run" and "echo" to pipe them to a script runner) is in security: they won't appear on the command line, so they won't appear momentarily in "ps" and won't be recorded in bash history, both helpful when including passwords. Also, there's less per-statement overhead. Keep in mind that the script will be briefly saved to the server (and since the filename is constant, this command can't be run twice concurrently, not that it should normally be an issue).


run_script(script, runner=None, password=None, prompt=None, pty=False)

Upload the given script content and either pipe it into the given command or, if no command is given, execute it directly (in this case, its shebang line should provide the command).

If prompt is not empty, password prompts will be recognized and answered as described for run_prompted.


Creates a privileged file with data provided by a string. (Fabric's regular put command requires a local file to upload.)

The file will first be created in the current home directory, then moved into place with sudo, because the current user may not have sufficient permissions for the regular 'put' command to place it there directly.


sudo_put_data(data, remote_path, uid='root', gid='root', mode=0600):


Creates a regular file on the server with data provided by a string. (Fabric's regular put command requires a local file to upload.)


put_data(data, remote_path, mode=0644)


Fabric 0.9.1 through 1.2. (Newer versions have not been tested.) Python 2.5 through 2.7. Mac OS, Linux/Unix, or Windows.


BSD 2-clause license. See LICENSE file.


Find this project on GitHub.

Written by Andrew Shearer. Email / Web site.