Here's a very small and basic script that sends commands over SSH to another computer on my network:

import sys, os
commands = ""
for i in sys.argv[1:]:
        commands += " " + i;

if len(sys.argv) <= 1:
        os.system("sshpass -p VerySecrectPassword ssh [email protected]")
        os.system("sshpass -p VerySecrectPassword ssh [email protected]" + commands)

Am I being very "Pythonic"? Is it better to use a for loop to join all the commands or the join function?

commands = " ".join(sys.argv[1:])

Personally, I think the for loop reads better, but that's just my opinion and I'm a newbie. Which is considered the better way to do things?


  • Are there any other areas in this script that could be improved?
  • Is it a bad idea to store the password in the script (located at /usr/bin)?

Note: This script is stored on a computer where I am the only user (except root).


1 Answer 1


To answer your questions: Yes.

Your code could be boiled down to:

import sys
import os

os.system("sshpass -p VerySecrectPassword ssh [email protected]" + " " .join(sys.argv[1:]))

Note that I also put the imports on two lines, as recommended by PEP8, Python's official style-guide.

But I would actually re-expand it to:

import sys
import os

data = {"user": "pi",
        "host": "",
        "password": "VerySecret",
        "commands": " " .join(sys.argv[1:])}

command = "sshpass -p {password} ssh {user}@{host} {commands}"

This gives you some easier ways to modify the configuration. It would also be easier to implement reading this configuration from a file now.

Note that bash (or whatever shell you use) will not care about the trailing whitespace in case commands is the empty string.

The next step would be using a ssh library, like @Simon recommended in his comment.

One way to do it would be first setting up password-less login and then using this answer and a comment within it:

import sys
import paramiko

rpi = {"username": "pi",
       "hostname": ""}
command = " " .join(sys.argv[1:])}

ssh = paramiko.SSHClient()
ssh_stdin, ssh_stdout, ssh_stderr = ssh.exec_command(command)

Here the ssh.set_missing_host_key_policy(paramiko.AutoAddPolicy()) is needed because paramiko does not read the hosts file correctly.

  • \$\begingroup\$ you could also take the password from an environment variable, which is probably better than having it in the source code \$\endgroup\$
    – DanJ
    Oct 8, 2016 at 17:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does that work out of the box or do you have to set up the config file? \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon
    Oct 9, 2016 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice. Thought it just loaded the optional config file att first i.e. .ssh/config \$\endgroup\$
    – Simon
    Oct 9, 2016 at 16:51

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