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a python library that simplifies chroot handling

Project description

pypi test coverage


pychroot is a python library that simplifies chroot handling. Specifically, it provides the Chroot context manager that allows for more pythonic methods for running code in or controlling access to chroots.


In its simplest form, pychroot can be used like the following:

from chroot import Chroot

with Chroot('/path/to/chroot'):
    code that will be run
    inside the chroot

By default, this will bind mount the host’s /dev, /proc, and /sys filesystems into the chroot as well as the /etc/resolv.conf file (so DNS resolution works as expected in the chroot).

A simple chroot equivalent is also installed as pychroot. It can be used in a similar fashion to chroot (via sudo pychroot ~/chroot); however, this also performs the bind mounts previously mentioned so the environment is usable. In addition, pychroot supports specifying custom bind mounts, for example:

sudo pychroot -B /home/user1 ~/chroot

will bind mount user1’s home directory at the same location inside the chroot directory in addition to the standard bind mounts. See pychroot’s help output for more options.


Namespaces are used by the context manager to segregate the chroot instance from the host system. By default, new mount, UTS, IPC, and pid namespaces are used. This allows for simplified handling of the teardown phase for the chroot environments.

One quirk of note is that currently local variables are not propagated back from the chroot context to the main context due to the usage of separate processes running the contexts. This means that something similar to the following won’t work:

from chroot import Chroot

with Chroot('/path/to/chroot'):
    a = 42

In this case, a NameError exception will be raised unless a was previously defined. This will probably be fixed to some extent in a future release.


Python versions 2.7, 3.3, 3.4 are supported. Note however, that pychroot is quite Linux specific due to the use of namespaces via the snakeoil library which also require proper kernel support.


Please create an issue in the issue tracker.


Tests are handled via pytest, run via:


which is also integrated into, run via:

python test

Also, tests for all supported python versions can be run together or individually via tox. Note that mock is required for tests if you’re using anything less than python 3.3.


via pip:

pip install pychroot


python install

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