Simple Setups

Consider the following simple scenario where we will be serving Bazaar branches that live on a single server. Those branches are in the subdirectories of /srv/bzr (or C:\bzr) and they will all be related to a single project called “ProjectX”. ProjectX will have a trunk branch and at least one feature branch. As we get further, we will consider other scenarios, but this will be a sufficiently motivating example.

Smart server

The simplest possible setup for providing outside access to the branches on the server uses Bazaar’s built-in smart server tunneled over SSH so that people who can access your server using SSH can have read and write access to branches on the server. This setup uses the authentication mechanisms of SSH including private keys, and the access control mechanisms of the server’s operating system. In particular, using groups on the server, it is possible to provide different access privileges to different groups of developers.


There is no setup required for this on the server, apart from having Bazaar installed and SSH access available to your developers. Using SSH configuration options it is possible to restrict developers from using anything but Bazaar on the server via SSH, and to limit what part of the file system they can access.


Clients can access the branches using URLs with the bzr+ssh:// prefix. For example, to get a local copy of the ProjectX trunk, a developer could do:

$ bzr branch bzr+ssh:// projectx

If the developers have write access to the /srv/bzr/projectx directory, then they can create new branches themselves using:

$ bzr branch bzr+ssh:// \

Of course, if this isn’t desired, then developers should not have write access to the /srv/bzr/projectx directory.

Further Configuration

For a project with multiple branches that are all related, it is best to use a shared repository to hold all of the branches. To set this up, do:

$ cd /srv/bzr
$ bzr init-repo --no-trees projectx

The --no-trees option saves space by not creating a copy of the working files on the server’s filesystem. Then, any branch created under /srv/bzr/projectx (see Migration for some ways to do this) will share storage space, which is particularly helpful for branches that have many revisions in common, such as a project trunk and its feature branches.

If Bazaar is not installed on the user’s path or not specified in the SSH configuration, then a path can be specified from the client with the BZR_REMOTE_PATH environment variable. For example, if the Bazaar executable is installed in /usr/local/bzr-2.0/bin/bzr, then a developer could use:

$ BZR_REMOTE_PATH=/usr/local/bzr-2.0/bin/bzr bzr info \

to get information about the trunk branch. The remote path can also be specified in Bazaar’s configuration files for a particular location. See bzr help configuration for more details.

If developers have home directories on the server, they can use /~/ in URLs to refer to their home directory. They can also use /~username/ to refer to the home directory of user username. For example, if there are two developers alice and bob, then Bob could use:

$ bzr log bzr+ssh://

to refer to one of his bug fix branches and:

$ bzr log bzr+ssh://

to refer to one of Alice’s branches. [1]

[1]The version of Bazaar installed on the server must be at least 2.1.0b1 or newer to support /~/ in bzr+ssh URLs.

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