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Python package releaser

Project description

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

mkrelease supports source distributions, binary eggs, and wheels.


After preparing a package for release (update version strings, dates, etc.), we typically have to:

  1. Commit modified files.
  2. Tag the release.
  3. Build a source distribution, egg, or wheel.
  4. Distribute the result 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 2.7 - 3.7 and all released versions of setuptools and distribute.

Use pip install jarn.mkrelease to install the mkrelease script.


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


-C, --no-commit
Do not commit modified files from the sandbox.
-T, --no-tag
Do not tag the release in SCM.
-R, --no-register
Do not register the release with dist-location.
-S, --no-upload
Do not upload the release to dist-location.
-n, --dry-run
Dry-run; equivalent to -CTRS.
--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 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.
-z, --zip
Release a zip archive (the default).
-g, --gztar
Release a tar.gz archive.
-b, --binary
Release a binary egg.
-w, --wheel
Release a wheel file.
-p, --push
Push sandbox modifications upstream.
-m, --manifest-only
Ignore setuptools extensions and collect files via only.
-e, --develop
Allow setuptools build tags. Implies -T.
-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.
A local SCM sandbox. Defaults to the current working directory.
scm-url [rev]
The URL of a remote SCM repository. The optional rev argument specifies a branch or tag to check out.


Release mypackage and upload it to PyPI:

$ mkrelease -d pypi src/mypackage

Release mypackage using the repository URL instead of a local working copy:

$ mkrelease -d pypi

Release mypackage and upload it via scp to the server:

$ mkrelease -d src/mypackage

Release a development egg of mypackage while suppressing setuptools output:

$ mkrelease -qed src/mypackage


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

index-servers =

repository =
username = fred
password = secret

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

# Release steps
commit = yes
tag = yes
push = yes
register = no
upload = yes

# Default dist-location
dist-location =

# One or more of: zip gztar egg wheel
formats = zip

# Sign with GnuPG
sign = no
identity =

# Setuptools options
manifest-only = no
develop = no
quiet = no

# Map name to one or more dist-locations
public =
customerA =
world =

The register, sign, and identity options may be overridden on a per-server basis by placing them in the respective server sections in ~/.pypirc.

Upload with SCP

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

$ mkrelease -d src/mypackage

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

$ mkrelease -d s src/mypackage

For consistency scp URLs are supported as well:

$ mkrelease -d scp:// src/mypackage

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

Upload to Index Servers

Another way of distributing Python packages 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/mypackage

Index servers are not limited to PyPI though. There is, and there are alternative index servers like devpi.

We extend our ~/.pypirc to add an additional server:

index-servers =

repository =
username = fred
password = secret

repository =
username = fred
password = secret

This allows us to release to by typing:

$ mkrelease -CT -d test src/mypackage

Note: Setuptools rebuilds the package for every index server it uploads it to. This means that SHA sums and GnuPG signatures will differ between servers. If this is not what you want, upload to only one server or use an upload tool like twine:

$ mkrelease -RS -z -w src/mypackage
$ twine upload src/mypackage/dist/*

Releasing a Tag

Release mypackage from an existing tag:

$ mkrelease -T -d pypi 1.0

Using GnuPG

Release mypackage and sign the archive with GnuPG:

$ mkrelease -s -i -d pypi src/mypackage

The -i flag is optional and GnuPG will pick your default key if not given.


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

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

Keyring Support

On Mac OS X, mkrelease installs the keyring module which provides access to the Mac OS X Keychain. To store your PyPI password in the Keychain type:

$ keyring set <pypi-username>

Then delete the password line from ~/.pypirc.

Note: keyring works on other platforms but because of C-language dependencies you have to install it yourself.


4.3 - 2019-01-28

  • Fix issue #10: Can no longer run from a zc.buildout. [stefan]
  • Support python -m jarn.mkrelease. [stefan]

4.2 - 2019-01-25

  • Drop Python 2.6 support, add Python 3.7. [stefan]
  • Update wheel and keyring dependencies. [stefan]
  • Add a complete config file example to the README. [stefan]
  • Accept dist-location as alias for distdefault in config files. [stefan]
  • Convert dashes to underscores in config parser optionxform. [stefan]

4.1 - 2017-10-06

  • Add -m option to skip setuptools extensions. [stefan]
  • Never read existing SOURCES.txt files. [stefan]
  • Allow –egg as alias for –binary. [stefan]

4.0.1 - 2017-07-20

  • Fix conditional include of keyring. [stefan]

4.0 - 2017-07-20

  • Add support for source distributions in gztar format. [stefan]
  • Add support for wheel files. [stefan]
  • Allow multiple archive formats per release. [stefan]
  • Protect against bad or incomplete locale settings. [stefan]
  • The secondary thread would sometimes not terminate in Python 2. [stefan]

3.10 - 2017-02-01

  • Support setuptools >= 33.1.0. [stefan]

3.9 - 2017-01-31

  • Catch up with late-2016 PyPI API change. [stefan]
  • Add -R option to skip the register step. [stefan]
  • Support Python 2.6 - 3.6 without 2to3. [stefan]
  • Handle return code changes in Mercurial 3.1.1. [stefan]

3.8 - 2013-11-21

  • Support Python 3.x. [stefan]

3.7 - 2012-08-22

  • Fix compilation of Python source files when the -b option is given. [stefan]
  • Run check command as part of sdist and register commands. [stefan]
  • Add SFTP support. [stefan]
  • Allow sftp:// and scp:// URLs as dist-locations. [stefan]

3.6 - 2012-07-11

  • Handle return code changes in Mercurial 2.1. [stefan]
  • Add setuptools-subversion dependency. [stefan]
  • Support Subversion 1.7 with the help of setuptools-subversion. [stefan]

3.5 - 2011-11-25

  • Allow multiple values for the distdefault config file option. [stefan]
  • Defer list-locations until after all arguments have been parsed. [stefan]
  • Make tests run twice as fast by avoiding Subversion checkouts. [stefan]

3.4 - 2011-11-10

  • Warn if -p is given but no upstream location is found. [stefan]
  • Always push to default in Mercurial. [stefan]
  • Avoid reading empty lines from terminating subprocesses. [stefan]
  • Fix bug in handling of distbase. [stefan]

3.3 - 2011-10-31

  • Add setuptools to the PYTHONPATH for subprocesses. [stefan]
  • Unset any PYTHONPATH while executing SCM commands. [stefan]
  • Support Git’s short-form ssh:// URLs. [stefan]
  • Add -c option to specify a config file other than ~/.mkrelease. [stefan]

3.2 - 2011-10-21

  • Fix the environment passed to subprocesses; Mercurial did not appreciate the mangled PYTHONPATH. [stefan]
  • Allow to specify the branch or tag to check out from Git and Mercurial repositories. [stefan]
  • Adapt to new status output in Subversion 1.6. [stefan]
  • Always include distdefault in list-locations. [stefan]
  • Detect Subversion repos from file:// URLs. [stefan]
  • Detect bare Git repos from file:// URLs. [stefan]

3.1 - 2011-07-19

  • Pass the PYTHONPATH to subprocesses so mkrelease works in zc.buildout environments. [stefan]
  • Improve SCM detection in situations where one or more SCMs are nested. [stefan]
  • Add support for relative file: URLs. [stefan]
  • Depend on lazy instead of carrying a local implementation. [stefan]

3.0.10 - 2011-07-07

  • Add -l option to list known dist-locations (i.e. servers and aliases). [stefan]
  • Drop support for server URLs as dist-locations. Server URLs are not unique. [stefan]
  • Update the Mercurial test repository so tagging tests don’t fail under Mercurial 1.8. [stefan]

3.0.9 - 2010-12-31

  • Rename [defaults] configuration file section to [mkrelease]. [stefan]
  • Various internal code cleanups. [stefan]

3.0.8 - 2010-08-13

  • Avoid underscores in dependency names. [stefan]
  • Handle return code changes in Mercurial 1.6. [stefan]

3.0.7 - 2010-07-07

  • Improve documentation and error messages. [stefan]

3.0.5 - 2010-03-23

  • Allow per-server configuration of -s and -i defaults. [stefan]
  • Support the Subversion repository layout. [stefan]

3.0.4 - 2010-03-16

  • Status checks didn’t use the same path restrictions as commits (Mercurial and Git.) [stefan]

3.0.3 - 2010-03-16

  • Change how we check for existing tags in Subversion repositories. [stefan]
  • Make sandbox-status checks more robust in all three SCMs. [stefan]

3.0.2 - 2010-03-12

  • Add support for Git 1.7. [stefan]

3.0.1 - 2010-02-07

  • Stop when -d pypi is given but no configuration can be found. [stefan]
  • Use gnu_getopt to parse the command line. [stefan]

3.0 - 2010-01-15

  • Switch to -n for dry-run to be consistent with other tools. [stefan]
  • Rename –skip-* long options to –no-* for the same reason. [stefan]
  • Fix a bug in Mercurial and Git sandbox detection. [stefan]
  • Prepare for standalone distutils. [stefan]

2.0.4 - 2010-01-10

  • Improve Git support to handle remotes other than origin. [stefan]
  • Fix SCM detection in ssh:// URLs. [stefan]

2.0.3 - 2010-01-03

  • Add -b option for releasing binary eggs. [stefan]
  • Don’t choke on dirty sandboxes when dry-running. [stefan]

2.0.2 - 2009-08-29

  • Filter meta files (.svn*, .hg*, .git*) and never include them in releases. [stefan]
  • Make sure to clean up all temporary files. [stefan]

2.0.1 - 2009-07-24

  • Fixed bug which could cause mkrelease to issue eggs with faulty manifest files (Symptom: data files not installed). [stefan]
  • The -e flag now implies -T. We never want to tag a development release. [stefan]

2.0 - 2009-07-16

  • Allow command line options to appear after the argument. As in: mkrelease src/mypackage -q -d pypi. [stefan]

2.0b2 - 2009-07-09

  • Improve user feedback in the SCM-detection part. [stefan]
  • Document the -e flag. [stefan]
  • Drop global configuration file for YAGNI. [stefan]
  • Allow to set default values for -s and -i in ~/.mkrelease. [stefan]

2.0b1 - 2009-07-03

  • By default, ignore all version number extensions (dev-r12345) that may be configured in setup.cfg. Passing the -e flag disables this safeguard. [witsch, stefan]
  • Delete any existing signature file before signing anew. This keeps GnuPG from complaining about existing (but left-over) files. [stefan]

2.0a2 - 2009-06-27

  • Drop configurable Python and use sys.executable. This also means we now require Python 2.6. [stefan]
  • Force setuptools to only use file-finders for the selected SCM type. This is required to support multi-SCM sandboxes (think git-svn). [stefan]
  • Treat Subversion sandboxes just like the others and avoid the temporary checkout step. [stefan]
  • Remove the -u flag for being pointless. [stefan]

2.0a1 - 2009-06-14

  • Added support for Mercurial and Git. [stefan]
  • Added 250+ unit tests. [stefan]

1.0.2 - 2009-06-13

  • Documented long options. [stefan]
  • Print a “Tagging …” line before tagging. [stefan]

1.0 - 2009-05-14

  • Print help and version to stdout, not stderr. [stefan]

1.0b4 - 2009-04-30

  • Since distutils commands may return 0, successful or not, we must check their output for signs of failure. [stefan]
  • Allow to pass argument list to main(). [stefan]

1.0b3 - 2009-03-23

  • No longer depend on grep. [stefan]
  • Use subprocess.Popen instead of os.system and os.popen. [stefan]
  • Protect against infinite alias recursion. [stefan]
  • Drop -z option and always create zip files from now on. [stefan]

1.0b2 - 2009-03-19

  • Checkin everything that’s been modified, not just “relevant” files. [stefan]
  • Expand aliases recursively. [stefan]

1.0b1 - 2009-03-18

  • The distbase and distdefault config file options no longer have default values. [stefan]
  • Read index servers from ~/.pypirc and allow them to be used with -d. [stefan]
  • The -d option may be specified more than once. [stefan]
  • Dropped -p option. Use -d pypi instead. [stefan]
  • Dropped -c option. If your have non-standard SVN repositories you must tag by hand. [stefan]

0.19 - 2009-02-23

  • Absolute-ize the temp directory path. [stefan]

0.18 - 2009-01-26

  • Include README.txt and CHANGES.txt in long_description. [stefan]
  • Rid unused imports and locals. [stefan]

0.17 - 2009-01-23

  • Add -c option to enable codespeak support. The repository uses branch and tag instead of branches and tags. [gotcha, stefan]

0.16 - 2009-01-13

  • Fold regex construction into find and make find a method. [stefan]
  • Update README.txt. [stefan]

0.15 - 2009-01-13

  • Support for reading default options from a config file. [fschulze, stefan]

0.14 - 2009-01-08

  • Add -s and -i options for signing PyPI uploads with GnuPG. [stefan]
  • Stop execution after any failing step. [stefan]

0.13 - 2009-01-05

  • Stop execution when the checkin step fails. [stefan]

0.12 - 2009-01-02

  • setup.cfg may not exist. [stefan]

0.11 - 2008-12-02

  • Add setup.cfg to list of files we check in. [stefan]

0.10 - 2008-10-21

  • Don’t capitalize GetOptError messages. [stefan]

0.9 - 2008-10-16

  • Add -v option to print the script version. [stefan]

0.8 - 2008-10-16

  • Lift restriction where only svn trunk could be released. [stefan]

0.7 - 2008-10-09

  • Fix PyPI upload which must happen on the same command line as sdist. [stefan]

0.6 - 2008-10-08

  • Update README.txt. [stefan]

0.5 - 2008-10-08

  • Also locate and checkin HISTORY.txt to support ZopeSkel’ed eggs. [stefan]

0.4 - 2008-10-08

  • Use svn checkout instead of svn export because it makes a difference to setuptools. [stefan]
  • Add -p option for uploading to PyPI instead of dist-location. [stefan]

0.3 - 2008-10-06

  • Also locate and checkin version.txt. [stefan]

0.2 - 2008-10-01

  • Add -z option to create zip archives instead of the default tar.gz. [stefan]

0.1 - 2008-10-01

  • Initial release [stefan]

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