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Installing and Using Python Keyring Lib

.. contents:: **Table of Contents**

What is Python keyring lib?

The Python keyring lib provides a easy way to access the system keyring service
from python. It can be used in any application that needs safe password storage.

The keyring services supported by the Python keyring lib:

* **OSXKeychain**: supports the Keychain service in Mac OS X.
* **KDEKWallet**: supports the KDE's Kwallet service.
* **GnomeKeyring**: for Gnome environment.

Besides these native password storing services provided by operating systems.
Python keyring lib also provides following build-in keyrings.

* **Win32CryptoKeyring**: for Windows 2k+.
* **CryptedFileKeyring**: a command line interface keyring base on PyCrypto.
* **UncryptedFileKeyring**: a keyring which leaves passwords directly in file.

Installation Instructions

easy_install or pip

Run easy_install or pip::

    $ easy_install keyring
    $ pip install keyring

Source installation

Download the source tarball, and uncompress it, then run the install command::

    $ wget
    $ tar -xzvf keyring-0.3.tar.gz
    $ cd keyring-0.3
    $ python install

Configure your keyring lib

The python keyring lib contains implementations for several backends, including
**OSX Keychain**, **Gnome Keyring**, **KDE Kwallet** and etc. The lib will
automatically choose the keyring that is most suitable for your current
environment. You can also specify the keyring you like to be used in the config
file or by calling the ``set_keyring()`` function.

Customize your keyring by config file

This section is about how to change your option in the config file.

Config file path

The configuration of the lib is stored in a file named "keyringrc.cfg". The file
can be stored in either of following two paths.

1. The working directory of the python
2. The home directory for current user

The lib will first look for the config file in the working directory. If no
config file exists **or** the config file is not write properly, the lib will
look up in the home folder.

Config file content

To specify a keyring backend, you need tell the lib the module name of the
backend, such as ``keyring.backend.OSXKeychain``. If the backend is not shipped
with the lib, in another word, is made by you own, you need also tell the lib
the path of your own backend module. The module name should be written after the
**default-keyring** option, while the module path belongs the **keyring-path**

Here's a sample config file(The full demo can be accessed in the ``demo/``):


Write your own keyring backend

The interface for the backend is defined by ``keyring.backend.KeyringBackend``.
By extending this base class and implementing the three functions
``supported()``, ``get_password()`` and ``set_password()``, you can easily create
your own backend for keyring lib.

The usage of the three functions:

* ``supported(self)`` : Return if this backend is supported in current
  environment. The returned value can be **0**, **1** , or **-1**. **0** means
  suitable; **1** means recommended and **-1** means this backend is not
  available for current environment.
* ``get_password(self, service, username)`` : Return the stored password for the
  ``username`` of the ``service``.
* ``set_password(self, service, username, password)`` : Store the ``password``
  for ``username`` of the ``service`` in the backend.

For an instance, there's the source code of the demo mentioned above. It's a
simple keyring which stores the password directly in memory.



    A simple keyring class for the

    Created by Kang Zhang on 2009-07-12
    from keyring.backend import KeyringBackend

    class SimpleKeyring(KeyringBackend):
        """Simple Keyring is a keyring which can store only one
        password in memory.
        def __init__(self):
            self.password = ''

        def supported(self):
            return 0

        def get_password(self, service, username):
            return self.password

        def set_password(self, service, username, password):
            self.password = password
            return 0

Set the keyring in runtime

Besides setting the backend through the config file, you can also set the
backend to use by calling the api ``set_keyring()``. The backend you passed in
will be used to store the password in your application.

Here's a code snippet from the ````. It shows the usage of

    # define a new keyring class which extends the KeyringBackend
    import keyring.backend
    class TestKeyring(keyring.backend.KeyringBackend):
        """A test keyring which always outputs same password
        def supported(self): return 0
        def set_password(self, servicename, username, password): return 0
        def get_password(self, servicename, username):
            return "password from TestKeyring"

    # set the keyring for keyring lib
    import keyring

    # invoke the keyring lib
        keyring.set_password("demo-service", "tarek", "passexample")
        print "password stored sucessfully"
    except keyring.backend.PasswordError:
        print "failed to store password"
    print "password", keyring.get_password("demo-service", "tarek")

Integrate the keyring lib with your application

API interface

The keyring lib has two functions:

* ``get_password(service, username)`` : Returns the password stored in keyring.
  If the password does not exist, it will return None.
* ``set_password(service, username, password)`` : Store the password in the


Here's an example of using keyring for application authorization. It can be
found in the demo folder of the repository. Note that the faked auth function
only returns true when the password equals to the username.


    Created by Kang Zhang 2009-08-14

    import keyring
    import getpass
    import ConfigParser

    def auth(username, password):
        """A faked authorization function.
        return username == password

    def main():
        """This scrip demos how to use keyring facilite the authorization. The
        username is stored in a config named 'auth_demo.cfg'
        # config file init
        config_file = 'auth_demo.cfg'
        config = ConfigParser.SafeConfigParser({
        if not config.has_section('auth_demo_login'):

        username = config.get('auth_demo_login','username')
        password = None
        if username != '':
            password = keyring.get_password('auth_demo_login', username)

        if password == None or not auth(username, password):

            while 1:
                username = raw_input("Username:\n")
                password = getpass.getpass("Password:\n")

                if auth(username, password):
                    print "Authorization failed."

            # store the username
            config.set('auth_demo_login', 'username', username)
            config.write(open(config_file, 'w'))

            # store the password
            keyring.set_password('auth_demo_login', username, password)

        # the stuff that needs authorization here
        print "Authorization successful."

    if __name__ == "__main__":

Get involved

Python keyring lib is an open community project and highly welcomes new

* Repository:
* Bug Tracker:
* Mailing list:


The project was based on Tarek Ziade's idea in `this post`_. Kang Zhang
initially carried it out as a `Google Summer of Code`_ project, and Tarek
mentored Kang on this project.

.. _this post:
.. _Google Summer of Code:

* Kang Zhang
* Tarek Ziade