Patchwork is a mid-level library of Unix system administration primitives such as “install package” or “create user account”, interrogative functionality for introspecting system state, and other commonly useful functions built on top of the Fabric library.


  • Primary API calls strive to be idempotent: they may be called multiple times in a row without unwanted changes piling up or causing errors.

  • Patchwork is just an API: it has no concept of “recipes”, “manifests”, “classes”, “roles” or other high level organizational units. This is left up to the user or wrapping libraries.

    • This is one way Patchwork differs from larger configuration management frameworks like Chef or Puppet. Patchwork is closest in nature to those tools’ “resources.”
  • It is implemented in shell calls, typically sent over SSH from a local workstation.

    • However, where possible, its functions expect a baseline Invoke Context object and can thus run locally or remotely, depending on the specific context supplied by the caller.


While Patchwork has been released with a major version number to signal adherence to semantic versioning, it’s still early in development and has not fully achieved its design vision yet.

We expect it to gain maturity in tandem with the adoption and development of Fabric 2. It’s also highly likely that Patchwork will see a few major releases as its API (and those of its sister library, invocations) matures.