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python-rpm-spec is a Python library for parsing RPM spec files.

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python-rpm-spec is a Python library for parsing RPM spec files.

tl;dr If you want to quickly parse a spec file on the command line you might want to give rpmspec --parse a try.

$ rpmspec --parse file.spec | awk '/Source/ {print $2}'

If you write Python, have no /usr/bin/rpm around, or want to do something slightly more complicated, try using this Python module.

RPMs are build from a package's sources along with a spec file. The spec file controls how the RPM is built. This module allows you to parse spec files and gives you simple access to various bits of information that is contained in the spec file.


  • No extra dependencies other than Python 3
  • Available on all platforms, parse spec files on Windows


This is how you access a spec file's various definitions:

from pyrpm.spec import Spec, replace_macros

spec = Spec.from_file('llvm.spec')
print(spec.version)  # 3.8.0
print(spec.sources[0])  #{version}/%{name}-%{version}.src.tar.xz
print(replace_macros(spec.sources[0], spec))  #

for package in spec.packages:
    print(f'{}: {package.summary if hasattr(package, "summary") else spec.summary}')

    # llvm: The Low Level Virtual Machine
    # llvm-devel: Libraries and header files for LLVM
    # llvm-doc: Documentation for LLVM
    # llvm-libs: LLVM shared libraries
    # llvm-static: LLVM static libraries

Example showing how to retrieve named source or patch files from a spec:

from pyrpm.spec import Spec

spec = Spec.from_file('llvm.spec')

# Access sources and patches via name
for k, v in spec.sources_dict.items():

# Source0 →{version}/%{name}-%{version}.src.tar.xz
# Source100 → llvm-config.h

# Or as a list with indices and so on
for source in spec.sources:

# llvm-config.h

Example showing how to get versioned BuildRequires: and Requires: out of a spec file:

from pyrpm.spec import Spec

spec = Spec.from_file('attica-qt5.spec')

# Access sources and patches via name
for br in spec.build_requires:
    print(f'{} {br.operator} {br.version}' if br.version else f'{}')

# cmake >= 3.0
# extra-cmake-modules >= %{_tar_path}
# fdupes
# kf5-filesystem
# pkg-config
# cmake(Qt5Core) >= 5.6.0
# cmake(Qt5Network) >= 5.6.0


python-rpm-spec is hosted on PyPI - the Python Package Index. So all you need to do is

$ pip install python-rpm-spec

in your virtual environment.

Alternatively, if you run Fedora, you can enable a copr repository and use the package manager to install a python-rpm-spec as a normal package in your system.

$ sudo dnf copr enable bkircher/python-rpm-spec  # Enable copr repo
$ sudo dnf install -y python3-rpm-spec  # Install the package


Except Python 3 no extra dependencies are required. No Python 2, sorry.

Current status

This module does not parse everything of a spec file. Only the pieces I needed. So there is probably still plenty of stuff missing. However, it should not be terribly complicated to add support for the missing pieces.


If you want to hack on this module you could start with following recipe:

$ git clone  # Clone the repo
$ cd python-rpm-spec  # Change into the source directory
$ mkdir .venv && python3 -m venv .venv  # Create a virtual environment
$ source .venv/bin/activate  # Activate it
$ pip install pytest  # Install py.test
$ pytest  # Execute all tests

Further references

Take a look at the excellent RPM Packaging Guide, especially the section What is a SPEC File?

Happy hacking!

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