Running a smart server

Bazaar does not require a specialised server because it operates over HTTP, FTP or SFTP. There is an optional smart server that can be invoked over SSH, from inetd, or in a dedicated mode.

Dumb servers

We describe HTTP, FTP, SFTP and HTTP-WebDAV as “dumb” servers because they do not offer any assistance to Bazaar. If you make a Bazaar repository available over any of these protocols, Bazaar will allow you to read it remotely. Just enter the URL to the branch in the Bazaar command you are running.:

bzr log

Bazaar supports writing over FTP, SFTP and (via a plugin) over HTTP-WebDAV.

High-performance smart server

The high-performance smart server (hpss) performs certain operations much faster than dumb servers are capable of. In future releases, the range of operations that are improved by using the smart server will increase as we continue to tune performance.

To maintain the highest security possible, the current smart server provides read-only access by default. To enable read-write access, run it with --allow-writes. When using the SSH access method, bzr automatically runs with the --allow-writes option.

The alternative ways of configuring a smart server are explained below.


Using Bazaar over SSH requires no special configuration on the server; so long as Bazaar is installed on the server you can use bzr+ssh URLs, e.g.:

bzr log bzr+ssh://host/path/to/branch

If bzr is not installed system-wide on the server you may need to explicitly tell the local bzr where to find the remote bzr:

BZR_REMOTE_PATH=~/bin/bzr bzr log bzr+ssh://host/path/to/branch

The BZR_REMOTE_PATH environment variable adjusts how bzr will be invoked on the remote system. By default, just bzr will be invoked, which requires the bzr executable to be on the default search path. You can also set this permanently per-location in locations.conf.

Like SFTP, paths starting with ~ are relative to your home directory, e.g. bzr+ssh:// Additionally, paths starting with ~user will be relative to that user’s home directory.


This example shows how to run bzr with a dedicated user bzruser for a shared repository in /srv/bzr/repo which has a branch at /srv/bzr/repo/branchname.

Running a Bazaar server from inetd requires an inetd.conf entry:

4155  stream  TCP  nowait  bzruser  /usr/bin/bzr /usr/bin/bzr serve --inet --directory=/srv/bzr/repo

When running client commands, the URL you supply is a bzr:// URL relative to the --directory option given in inetd.conf:

bzr log bzr://host/branchname

If possible, paths starting with ~ and ~user will be expanded as for bzr+ssh. Home directories outside the --directory specified to bzr serve will not be accessible.


This mode has the same path and URL behaviour as the inetd mode. To run as a specific user, you should use su or login as that user.

This example runs bzr on its official port number of 4155 and listens on all interfaces. This allows connections from anywhere in the world that can reach your machine on port 4155.


bzr serve --directory=/srv/bzr/repo


bzr log bzr://host/branchname

This example runs bzr serve on localhost port 1234.


bzr serve --listen=localhost --port=1234 --directory=/srv/bzr/repo


bzr log bzr://localhost:1234/branchname

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