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wrappers for running commands that need some initial setup

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A command line tool to create wrappers around executable files


exec-wrappers is useful whenever you need a single executable file, but have to do some setup before executing it.

If you develop using some kind of environment isolation like conda, schroot, virtualenv you probably wanted to configure a GUI application like an IDE to use the executables available inside these environments.

But you normally have to create a script that do some setup/activation step and then run the command but creating such a script for each executable is tedious.

exec-wrappers helps automating that as it detects executable files and create a wrapper for each of them. It also already provides some wrappers for common tools.

Also, as the wrappers are intended to be used non-interactively, they are normally much simpler than the interactive counterpart.

For example, the conda wrappers are much faster than doing an activate and executing the command:

  • Regular activate:
$ echo 'source activate test 2> /dev/null; "$@"' > /tmp/activate-and-run && chmod a+x /tmp/activate-and-run
$ time /tmp/activate-and-run python --version
Python 2.7.11 :: Continuum Analytics, Inc.

real    0m0.354s
user    0m0.288s
sys 0m0.040s
  • Using python wrapper created by exec-wrappers:
$ time /tmp/conda_wrappers/python --version
Python 2.7.11 :: Continuum Analytics, Inc.

real    0m0.003s
user    0m0.000s
sys 0m0.000s

Having a low overhead is very important if you are executing the command non-interactively.


  • automatically detect executables in a given directory
  • wrappers written in plain shell and batch scripts
  • low overhead (as low as possible)
  • built-in wrappers for common tools


python is the only dependency to create wrappers. To properly use the generated wrappers you need the tool used by the wrapper (conda, schroot, etc.).


$ python install

How it works

Creating conda wrappers:

$ create-wrappers  -t conda --bin-dir ~/miniconda/envs/test/bin --dest-dir /tmp/conda_wrappers --conda-env-dir ~/miniconda/envs/test

This will create in /tmp/conda_wrappers a wrapper for each executable found in ~/miniconda/envs/test/bin. So if you run the python wrapper:

$ /tmp/conda_wrappers/python -c "import sys; print(sys.executable)"

It will actually activate the conda environment and set necessary variables, and then execute the real python interpreter. So you can use the wrapper to configure you IDE, for example.

Also a run-in script will be created, which you can use to run any arbitrary command:

$ /tmp/conda_wrappers/run-in bash -c 'echo $CONDA_DEFAULT_ENV'


  • conda:
$ create-wrappers  -t conda -b ~/miniconda/envs/test/bin -d /tmp/conda_wrappers --conda-env-dir ~/miniconda/envs/test
  • virtualenv:
$ create-wrappers  -t virtualenv -b ~/python3-env/bin -d /tmp/virtualenv_wrappers --virtual-env-dir ~/python3-env
  • schroot:
$ create-wrappers  -t schroot -b ~/chroots/centos5/bin -d /tmp/schroot_wrappers --schroot-name centos5
$ create-wrappers  -t schroot -b ~/chroots/centos5/bin -d /tmp/schroot_wrappers --schroot-name centos5 --schroot-options="-p -d /"
  • custom:
$ echo -e '#!/bin/sh\necho "$@"' > /tmp/custom-script && chmod a+x /tmp/custom-script
$ create-wrappers  -t custom --custom-script=/tmp/custom-script -b /usr/bin -d /tmp/custom_wrappers
  • wrap only specified files:
$ create-wrappers  -t schroot -f gcc:gdb -d /tmp/schroot_wrappers --schroot-name centos5
  • chain multiple wrappers:
$ create-wrappers  -t conda -b ~/miniconda/envs/test/bin -d /tmp/conda_wrappers --conda-env-dir ~/miniconda/envs/test
$ create-wrappers  -t schroot -b /tmp/conda_wrappers -d /tmp/schroot_wrappers --schroot-name centos5


Distributed under the terms of the MIT license, exec-wrappers is free and open source software


If you encounter any problems, please file an issue along with a detailed description.

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