Multiple file support with scp

    Paramiko doesn't provide a scp implementation, so I've been using my own for a while. provides good documentation about the scp protocol, but it missed out on one detail I needed -- how to send more than one file in a given session. In the end I implemented a simple scp logger to see what the protocol was doing during the copying of files. My logger said this:

      >>> New command invocation: /usr/bin/scp -d -t /tmp
      O: \0
      I: C0644 21 a\n
      O: \0
      I: file a file a file a\n\0
      O: \0
      I: C0644 21 b\n
      O: \0
      I: file b file b file b\n\0
      O: \0
      >>>stdin closed
      >>> stdout closed
      >>> stderr closed

    It turns out its important to wait for those zeros by the way. So, here's my implementation of the protocol to send more than one file. Turning this into paramiko code is left as an exercise for the reader.

      import fcntl
      import os
      import select
      import string
      import subprocess
      import sys
      import traceback
      def printable(s):
        out = ''
        for c in s:
          if c == '\n':
            out += '\\n'
          elif c in string.printable:
            out += c
            out += '\\%d' % ord(c)
        return out
        dialog = ['C0644 21 c\n',
                  'file c file c file c\n\0',
                  'C0644 21 d\n',
                  'file d file d file d\n\0']
        proc = subprocess.Popen(['scp', '-v', '-d', '-t', '/tmp'],
        r = [proc.stdout, proc.stderr]
        w = []
        e = [proc.stdout, proc.stderr]
        fl = fcntl.fcntl(proc.stdout, fcntl.F_GETFL)
        fcntl.fcntl(proc.stdout, fcntl.F_SETFL, fl | os.O_NONBLOCK)
        fl = fcntl.fcntl(proc.stderr, fcntl.F_GETFL)
        fcntl.fcntl(proc.stderr, fcntl.F_SETFL, fl | os.O_NONBLOCK)
        stdin_closed = False
        while proc.returncode is None:
          (readable, _, errorable) =, w, e)
          for flo in readable:
            if flo == proc.stdout:
              d =, 1024)
              if len(d) > 0:
                sys.stdout.write('O: %s\n' % printable(d))
                if len(dialog) > 0:
                  sys.stdout.write('I: %s\n' % printable(dialog[0]))
                  os.write(proc.stdin.fileno(), dialog[0])
                  dialog = dialog[1:]
                if len(dialog) == 0 and not stdin_closed:
                  sys.stdout.write('>>> stdin closed\n')
                  stdin_closed = True
                sys.stdout.write('>>> stdout closed\n')
            elif flo == proc.stderr:
              d =, 1024)
              if len(d) > 0:
                sys.stdout.write('E: %s\n' % printable(d))
                sys.stdout.write('>>> stderr closed\n')
              sys.stdout.write('>>> Unknown readable: %s: %s\n'
          for flo in errorable:
            sys.stdout.write('>>> Error on %s\n' % repr(flo))
        print '#: %s' % proc.returncode
        exc = sys.exc_info()
        for tb in traceback.format_exception(exc[0], exc[1], exc[2]):
          print tb
          del tb

    Tags for this post: python paramiko scp protocol
    Related posts: Implementing SCP with paramiko; Weird paramiko problem; Executing a command with paramiko; paramiko exec_command timeout; Calculating a SSH host key with paramiko; Python3 venvs for people who are old and grumpy

posted at: 02:40 | path: /python/paramiko | permanent link to this entry