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I'm trying to create an installer that installs a Blender addon from the terminal, something like this:

wget https://my-installer/install | python

In which the install script will download a zip for the appropriate blender version and I found the bpy.ops.preferences.addon_install and addon_enable operators.

My script gets run with blender --background --python _tmp_installer.py:

import bpy, os
p = os.path.abspath('blenderneuron.zip')
bpy.ops.preferences.addon_install(filepath=p, overwrite=True)
bpy.ops.preferences.addon_enable(module='blenderneuron')

The output of which I capture:

C:\Users\robin\Documents\GIT\BlenderNEURON>python < installer/install.py
Blender output: Blender 2.91.0 (hash 0f45cab862b8 built 2020-11-25 09:02:56)
Read prefs: C:\Users\robin\AppData\Roaming\Blender Foundation\Blender\2.91\config\userpref.blend
found bundled python: C:\Program Files\Blender Foundation\Blender 2.91\2.91\python
Info: Modules Installed () from 'C:\\Users\\robin\\Documents\\GIT\\BlenderNEURON\\blenderneuron.zip' into 'C:\\Users\\robin\\AppData\\Roaming\\Blender Foundation\\Blender\\2.91\\scripts\\addons'
reloading addon: blenderneuron 1610983621.1903374 1610983643.3685155 'C:\\Users\\robin\\AppData\\Roaming\\Blender Foundation\\Blender\\2.91\\scripts\\addons\\blenderneuron\\__init__.py'
Modules Installed () from 'C:\\Users\\robin\\Documents\\GIT\\BlenderNEURON\\blenderneuron.zip' into 'C:\\Users\\robin\\AppData\\Roaming\\Blender Foundation\\Blender\\2.91\\scripts\\addons'
Info: Modules Installed () from 'C:\\Users\\robin\\Documents\\GIT\\BlenderNEURON\\blenderneuron.zip' into 'C:\\Users\\robin\\AppData\\Roaming\\Blender Foundation\\Blender\\2.91\\scripts\\addons'

Blender quit

From which it seems like everything went OK. My add-on does get installed, and I see it in the list, but it isn't enabled. How can I make sure that it is enabled as if someone went to "Preferences > Addons" and clicked the checkmark there?

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Enabling the addon modifies the user preferences, those need to be saved before Blender shuts down or the changes are lost the next time Blender starts. You can use bpy.ops.wm.save_userpref() to do so:

import bpy, os
p = os.path.abspath('blenderneuron.zip')
bpy.ops.preferences.addon_install(filepath=p, overwrite=True)
bpy.ops.preferences.addon_enable(module='blenderneuron')
bpy.ops.wm.save_userpref()
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