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Mercurial Keyring Extension

Project description

Mercurial Keyring is a Mercurial extension used to securely save HTTP and SMTP authentication passwords in password databases (Gnome Keyring, KDE KWallet, OSXKeyChain, Windows Vault etc).

With mercurial_keyring active, Mercurial remembers your passwords and reuses them without prompting (as if you stored them in .hgrc), but password storage is reasonably secure.

Actual password storage is implemented by the keyring library, this extension glues it to Mercurial.

1 How does it work

On your first pull or push to HTTP url (or first email sent via given SMTP server), you are prompted for the password, just like bare Mercurial does. But the password you entered is saved to appropriate password database. On successive runs, whenever the password is needed, mercurial_keyring checks for password in password database, and uses it without troubling you.

In case password turns out to be incorrect (for example, because you changed it, or entered it incorrectly), mercurial_keyring prompts you again, and overwrites the password.

You can use many passwords (for various remote urls). Saved passwords are identified by pair of username and url prefix. See below for information how to configure those properly.

2 Installation

2.1 Prerequisites

This extension requires keyring and mercurial_extension_utils to work. In many cases both will be installed automatically while you install mercurial_keyring, but you may need to control the process.

The keyring library can usually be installed by:

pip install --user keyring

(or easy_install keyring), but on some systems it is preferable to use official distribution archive. For example, on Debian and Ubuntu, you may install python-keyring and either python-keyring-gnome or python-keyring-kwallet packages:

sudo apt-get install python-keyring python-keyring-gnome

(this will save you the need to provide working compiler and various development libraries).

The mercurial_extension_utils module is tiny Python-only module, which can be installed by:

pip install --user mercurial_extension_utils

but in some cases (Windows…) requires more care. See mercurial_extension_utils documentation.

2.2 Extension installation

There are two possible ways of installing the extension: using PyPi package, or using source clone.

To install as a package:

pip install --user mercurial_keyring

(or sudo pip install mercurial_keyring for system-wide installation) and then enable it in ~/.hgrc (or /etc/mercurial/hgrc or Mercurial.ini) using:

mercurial_keyring =

To install using source clone, install keyring according to the instructions above, then clone:

hg clone
hg clone

and configure Mercurial using full path to the extension module:

mercurial_keyring = /path/to/mercurial_keyring/

3 Password backend configuration

The most appropriate password backend should usually be picked without configuration (considering installed libraries, operating system, active desktop session). Still, if necessary, it can be configured using keyringrc.cfg file. Refer to keyring docs for more details.

4 hgrc configuration (HTTP)

Mercurial Keyring uses standard Mercurial [auth] configuration to detect your username (on given remote) and url prefix. You are strongly advised to configure both.

Without the username mercurial_keyring can’t save or restore passwords, so it disables itself.

Without url prefix mercurial_keyring works, but binds passwords to repository urls. That means you will have to (re)enter password for every repository cloned from given remote (and that there will be many copies of this password in secure storage).

4.1 Repository level configuration

Edit repository-local .hg/hgrc and save there the remote repository path and the username, but do not save the password. For example:

myremote =

myremote.prefix =
myremote.username = John

Simpler form with url-embedded name can also be used:

bitbucket =

but is not recommended.

Note that all repositories sharing the same prefix share the same password.

Mercurial allows also for password in .hg/hgrc (either given by «prefix».password, or embedded in url). If such password is found, Mercurial Keyring disables itself.

4.2 Account-level configuration

If you are consistent about remote repository nicknames, you can configure the username in your ~/.hgrc (.hgrc in your home directory). For example, write there:

acme.prefix =
acme.username = johnny
acme.schemes = http https
heptapod.prefix =
heptapod.username = Mekk
mydep.prefix =
mydep.username = drmartin

and as long as you use acme alias for repositories like, username johnny will be used, and the same password reused. Similarly any hg push heptapod will assume username Mekk and share the same password.

With such config repository-level .hg/hgrc need only contain [paths].

Additional advantage of this method is that it works also during clone.

5 hgrc configuration (SMTP)

Edit either repository-local .hg/hgrc, or ~/.hgrc and set there all standard email and smtp properties, including SMTP username, but without SMTP password. For example:

method = smtp
from = Joe Doe <>

host =
port = 587
username =
tls = true

Just as in case of HTTP, you must set username, but must not set password here to use the extension, in other cases it will revert to the default behavior.

6 Usage

6.1 Saving and restoring passwords

Configure the repository as above, then just hg pull, hg push, etc. You should be asked for the password only once (per every username and remote repository prefix or url combination).

Similarly, for email, configure as above and just hg email. Again, you will be asked for the password once (per every username and email server address combination).

6.2 Checking password status (hg keyring_check)

The keyring_check command can be used to check whether/which password(s) are saved. It can be used in three ways:

  • without parameters, it prints info related to all HTTP paths defined for current repository (everything from hg paths that resolves to HTTP url):

    hg keyring_check
  • given alias as param, it prints info about this alias:

    hg keyring_check work
  • finally, any path can be checked:

    hg keyring_check

6.3 Deleting saved password (hg keyring_clear)

The keyring_clear command removes saved password related to given path. It can be used in two ways:

  • given alias as param, it drops password used by this alias:

    hg keyring_clear work
  • given full path, it drops password related to this path:

    hg keyring_clear

6.4 Managing passwords using GUI tools

Many password backends provide GUI tools for password management, for example Gnome Keyring passwords can be managed using seahorse, and KDE Wallet using kwalletmanager. Those GUI tools can be used to review, edit, or delete saved passwords.

Unfortunately, as I write, keyring library does not allow one to configure how/where exactly saved passwords are put in the hierarchy, and the place is not always intuitive. For example, in KDE Wallet, all passwords saved using mercurial_keyring show up in the folder named Python.

7 Implementation details

The extension is monkey-patching the mercurial passwordmgr class to replace the find_user_password method. Detailed order of operations is described in the comments inside the code.

8 Frequent problems

Most problems people face while using mercurial_keyring are in fact problems with keyring library and it’s backends. In particular, those can manifest by:

  • technical errors mentioning sentences like No recommended backend was available. Install the keyrings.alt package… (or similar),

  • warnings like keyring: keyring backend doesn't seem to work…

  • password prompts on every action (= passwords not being saved).

Those almost always mean that natural keyring backend for given desktop type doesn’t work, or is not present at all. For example, some necessary runtime component can be down (say, you use Linux, but neither Gnome Keyring, nor KDE Wallet, is running). Or appropriate backend is not installed because it could not be build during keyring library installation (maybe because some required library was not present at the moment of keyring installation, or maybe because compiler as such is not present on the system).

To diagnose such problems, try using keyring utility, as described on keyring documentation page, for example by:

keyring --list-backends
keyring -b keyrings.alt.Gnome.Keyring set testsvc testuser
keyring -b keyrings.alt.Gnome.Keyring get testsvc testuser

(of course using appropriate backend). If you miss the keyring command as such, try python -m keyring instead:

python -m keyring --list-backends
python -m keyring -b keyrings.alt.Gnome.Keyring set testsvc testuser
python -m keyring -b keyrings.alt.Gnome.Keyring get testsvc testuser

If appropriate backend is missing (not listed), or doesn’t work (second or third command fails), your keyring is broken. Try looking for further pointers in keyring documentation, that project mailing list, or issue tracker. Typically it will turn out, that you need to install some missing tool, or library, and reinstall keyring.

If keyring command works, but mercurial with mercurial_keyring does not, try enforcing proper backend (by means of keyringrc.cfg, see above). Only if this doesn’t help, there may be a bug in mercurial_keyring.

By far easiest way to have properly working keyring is to use packaged binary version (like python-keyring Ubuntu package, or keyring bundled with TortoiseHG on some systems). If you pip-installed keyring and it doesn’t work, you may consider removing it via pip uninstall keyring and looking for binary package instead.

9 History

See HISTORY.rst.

10 Repository, bug reports, enhancement suggestions

Development is tracked on HeptaPod, see

Use issue tracker there for bug reports and enhancement suggestions.

Thanks to Octobus and Clever Cloud for hosting this service.

11 Additional notes

Information about this extension is also available on Mercurial Wiki:

Check also other Mercurial extensions I wrote.

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