Package Management with Fabric

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Recently, I’ve been using Fabric quite a bit. It is simple, Pythonic, and I’ve grown to enjoy using it for automating basic systems administration tasks when a full-fledged configuration management system is more than you need for the job.

For the most part, Fabric keeps to the basics, e.g. executing remote shell commands and uploading files. There are quite a few sets of tools that have popped up to extend it, but unfortunately there no is “official” contrib library. Many of these project serve very specific use cases like deploying a Django application and duplicate certain functionality.

One thing that I’ve become a bit frustrated with is copying around convenience functions into multiple Fabfiles. In particular, I end up cargo culting functions related to package management. So to finally rid myself of these, I’ve created fabric-package-management.

The source is on GitHub, and you can install it from PyPI with:

sudo pip install fabric-package-management

The aim is to provide basic primitives for package management with Fabric. Its focus is intentionally narrow. The 0.1 release only offers support for Apt, but I hope to see it grow support for more distributions. It could potentially add an abstraction layer for cross distro support.

Here’s a quick example of using it to update all your DigitalOcean servers:

import os
import digitalocean
from fabric.api import task, prompt, env, settings
from fabric.operations import reboot

from fabric_package_management import apt

USER = 'username'

def get_hosts():
    token = os.getenv('DO_TOKEN')
    manager = digitalocean.Manager(token=token)
    droplets = manager.get_all_droplets()
    hosts = []
    for d in droplets:

    return hosts

def run():
    hosts = get_hosts()
    for h in hosts:
        with settings(host_string=h, user=USER):
            if apt.reboot_required():
                prompt("Reboot required. Initiate now?\nYes/No?",
                if env.response.lower() == "yes":

Hope you find this useful!

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