Configuration Settings

Environment settings

While most configuration is handled by configuration files, some options which may be semi-permanent can also be controlled through the environment.


Override the email id used by Bazaar. Typical format:

"John Doe <>"

See also the email configuration option.


Override the progress display. Possible values are “none” or “text”. If the value is “none” then no progress bar is displayed. The value “text” draws the ordinary command line progress bar.


Control whether SIGQUIT behaves normally or invokes a breakin debugger.

  • 0 = Standard SIGQUIT behavior (normally, exit with a core dump)
  • 1 = Invoke breakin debugger (default)


Override the home directory used by Bazaar.


Select a different SSH implementation.


Control whether to launch a debugger on error.

  • 0 = Standard behavior
  • 1 = Launch debugger


Path to the Bazaar executable to use when using the bzr+ssh protocol.

See also the bzr_remote_path configuration option.


Path to the editor Bazaar should use for commit messages, etc.


Location of the Bazaar log file. You can check the current location by running bzr version.

The log file contains debug information that is useful for diagnosing or reporting problems with Bazaar.

Setting this to NUL on Windows or /dev/null on other platforms will disable logging.


The path to the plugins directory that Bazaar should use. If not set, Bazaar will search for plugins in:

  • the user specific plugin directory (containing the user plugins),
  • the bzrlib directory (containing the core plugins),
  • the site specific plugin directory if applicable (containing the site plugins).

If BZR_PLUGIN_PATH is set in any fashion, it will change the the way the plugin are searched.

As for the PATH variables, if multiple directories are specified in BZR_PLUGIN_PATH they should be separated by the platform specific appropriate character (‘:’ on Unix, ‘;’ on windows)

By default if BZR_PLUGIN_PATH is set, it replaces searching in user. However it will continue to search in core and site unless they are explicitly removed.

If you need to change the order or remove one of these directories, you should use special values:

  • -user, -core, -site will remove the corresponding path from the default values,
  • +user, +core, +site will add the corresponding path before the remaining default values (and also remove it from the default values).

Note that the special values ‘user’, ‘core’ and ‘site’ should be used literally, they will be substituted by the corresponding, platform specific, values.

The examples below use ‘:’ as the separator, windows users should use ‘;’.

Overriding the default user plugin directory:


Disabling the site directory while retaining the user directory:


Disabling all plugins (better achieved with –no-plugins):


Overriding the default site plugin directory:



Under special circumstances (mostly when trying to diagnose a bug), it’s better to disable a plugin (or several) rather than uninstalling them completely. Such plugins can be specified in the BZR_DISABLE_PLUGINS environment variable.

In that case, bzr will stop loading the specified plugins and will raise an import error if they are explicitly imported (by another plugin that depends on them for example).

Disabling myplugin and yourplugin is achieved by:



When adding a new feature or working on a bug in a plugin, developers often need to use a specific version of a given plugin. Since python requires that the directory containing the code is named like the plugin itself this make it impossible to use arbitrary directory names (using a two-level directory scheme is inconvenient). BZR_PLUGINS_AT allows such directories even if they don’t appear in BZR_PLUGIN_PATH .

Plugins specified in this environment variable takes precedence over the ones in BZR_PLUGIN_PATH.

The variable specified a list of plugin_name@plugin path, plugin_name being the name of the plugin as it appears in python module paths, plugin_path being the path to the directory containing the plugin code itself (i.e. plugins/myplugin not plugins). Use ‘:’ as the list separator, use ‘;’ on windows.


Using a specific version of myplugin: BZR_PLUGINS_AT='myplugin@/home/me/bugfixes/123456-myplugin


The path where Bazaar should look for shell plugin external commands.

http_proxy, https_proxy

Specifies the network proxy for outgoing connections, for example:


Configuration files


Configuration files are located in $HOME/.bazaar on Unix and C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Bazaar\2.0 on Windows. (You can check the location for your system by using bzr version.)

There are three primary configuration files in this location:

  • bazaar.conf describes default configuration options,
  • locations.conf describes configuration information for specific branch locations,
  • authentication.conf describes credential information for remote servers.

Each branch can also contain a configuration file that sets values specific to that branch. This file is found at .bzr/branch/branch.conf within the branch. This file is visible to all users of a branch, if you wish to override one of the values for a branch with a setting that is specific to you then you can do so in locations.conf.

General format

An ini file has three types of contructs: section headers, section options and comments.


A comment is any line that starts with a “#” (sometimes called a “hash mark”, “pound sign” or “number sign”). Comment lines are ignored by Bazaar when parsing ini files.

Section headers

A section header is a word enclosed in brackets that starts at the begining of a line. A typical section header looks like this:


The only valid section headers for bazaar.conf currently are [DEFAULT] and [ALIASES]. Section headers are case sensitive. The default section provides for setting options which can be overridden with the branch config file.

For locations.conf, the options from the section with the longest matching section header are used to the exclusion of other potentially valid section headers. A section header uses the path for the branch as the section header. Some examples include:


Section options

A section option resides within a section. A section option contains an option name, an equals sign and a value. For example:

email            = John Doe <>
gpg_signing_key  = Amy Pond <>

A option can reference other options by enclosing them in curly brackets:

my_branch_name = feature_x
my_server      = bzr+ssh://
push_location   = {my_server}/project/{my_branch_name}

Option policies

Options defined in a section affect the named directory or URL plus any locations they contain. Policies can be used to change how an option value is interpreted for contained locations. Currently there are three policies available:

the value is interpreted the same for contained locations. This is the default behaviour.
the value is only used for the exact location specified by the section name.
for contained locations, any additional path components are appended to the value.

Policies are specified by keys with names of the form “<option_name>:policy”. For example, to define the push location for a tree of branches, the following could be used:

push_location = s
push_location:policy = appendpath

With this configuration, the push location for /top/location/branch1 would be s

Section local options

Some options are defined automatically inside a given section and can be refered to in this section only.

For example, the appendpath policy can be used like this:

mypush = lp:~vila/bzr

Using relpath to achieve the same result is done like this:

mypush = lp:~vila/bzr/{relpath}

In both cases, when used in a directory like /home/vila/src/bzr/bugs/832013-expand-in-stack we’ll get:

$ bzr config mypush

Another such option is basename which can be used like this:

mypush = lp:~vila/bzr/{basename}

When used in a directory like /home/vila/src/bzr/bugs/832013-expand-in-stack we’ll get:

$ bzr config mypush

Note that basename here refers to the base name of relpath which itself is defined as the relative path between the section name and the location it matches.

Another such option is branchname, which refers to the name of a colocated branch. For non-colocated branches, it behaves like basename. It can be used like this:

mypush = lp:~vila/bzr/{branchname}

When used with a colocated branch named 832013-expand-in-stack, we’ll get:

bzr config mypush

When an option is local to a Section, it cannot be referred to from option values in any other section from the same Store nor from any other Store.

The main configuration file, bazaar.conf

bazaar.conf allows two sections: [DEFAULT] and [ALIASES]. The default section contains the default configuration options for all branches. The default section can be overriden by providing a branch-specific section in locations.conf.

A typical bazaar.conf section often looks like the following:

email             = John Doe <>
editor            = /usr/bin/vim
create_signatures = when-required

The branch location configuration file, locations.conf

locations.conf allows one to specify overriding settings for a specific branch. The format is almost identical to the default section in bazaar.conf with one significant change: The section header, instead of saying default, will be the path to a branch that you wish to override a value for. The ‘?’ and ‘*’ wildcards are supported:

email = Nethack Admin <>

create_signatures = always

The authentication configuration file, authentication.conf

authentication.conf allows one to specify credentials for remote servers. This can be used for all the supported transports and any part of bzr that requires authentication (smtp for example).

The syntax of the file obeys the same rules as the others except for the option policies which don’t apply.

For more information on the possible uses of the authentication configuration file see Authentication Settings.

Common options


A comma-separated list of debugging options to turn on. The same values can be used as with the -D command-line option (see help global-options). For example:

debug_flags = hpss


debug_flags = hpss,evil


The email address to use when committing a branch. Typically takes the form of:

email = Full Name <account@hostname.tld>


The path of the editor that you wish to use if bzr commit is run without a commit message. This setting is trumped by the environment variable BZR_EDITOR, and overrides the VISUAL and EDITOR environment variables.


The default log format to use. Standard log formats are long, short and line. Additional formats may be provided by plugins. The default value is long.


Reserved for future use. These options will allow a policy for branches to require signatures.

The gnupg signature for revisions must be present and must be valid.
Do not check gnupg signatures of revisions.
(default) If gnupg signatures for revisions are present, check them. Bazaar will fail if it finds a bad signature, but will not fail if no signature is present.


Defines the behaviour of signing revisions on commits. By default bzr will not sign new commits.

Sign every new revision that is committed. If the signing fails then the commit will not be made.
Reserved for future use.
Reserved for future use.

In future it is planned that when-required will sign newly committed revisions only when the branch requires them. never will refuse to sign newly committed revisions, even if the branch requires signatures.


If true (default), working tree metadata changes are flushed through the OS buffers to physical disk. This is somewhat slower, but means data should not be lost if the machine crashes. See also repository.fdatasync.


The GnuPG user identity to use when signing commits. Can be an e-mail address, key fingerprint or full key ID. When unset or when set to “default” Bazaar will use the user e-mail set with whoami.


Only useful in locations.conf. Defines whether or not the configuration for this section applies to subdirectories:

(default) This section applies to subdirectories as well.
This section only applies to the branch at this directory and not branches below it.


(Default: “gpg”). Which program should be used to sign and check revisions. For example:

gpg_signing_command = /usr/bin/gnpg

The specified command must accept the options “–clearsign” and “-u <email>”.


(Default: “bzr”). The path to the command that should be used to run the smart server for bzr. This value may only be specified in locations.conf, because:

  • it’s needed before branch.conf is accessible
  • allowing remote branch.conf files to specify commands would be a security risk

It is overridden by the BZR_REMOTE_PATH environment variable.


(Default: “localhost”). SMTP server to use when Bazaar needs to send email, eg. with merge-directive --mail-to, or the bzr-email plugin.

smtp_username, smtp_password

User and password to authenticate to the SMTP server. If smtp_username is set, and smtp_password is not, Bazaar will prompt for a password. These settings are only needed if the SMTP server requires authentication to send mail.


If set to true, bzr will automatically break locks held by processes from the same machine and user that are no longer alive. Otherwise, it will print a message and you can break the lock manually, if you are satisfied the object is no longer in use.


A mail client to use for sending merge requests. By default, bzr will try to use mapi on Windows. On other platforms, it will try xdg-email. If either of these fails, it will fall back to editor.

Supported values for specific clients:

claws:Use Claws. This skips a dialog for attaching files.
evolution:Use Evolution.
kmail:Use KMail.
mutt:Use Mutt.
thunderbird:Use Mozilla Thunderbird or Icedove. For Thunderbird/Icedove 1.5, this works around some bugs that xdg-email doesn’t handle.

Supported generic values are:

default:See above.
editor:Use your editor to compose the merge request. This also uses your commit id, (see bzr whoami), smtp_server and (optionally) smtp_username and smtp_password.
mapi:Use your preferred e-mail client on Windows.
xdg-email:Use xdg-email to run your preferred mail program


If true (default), repository changes are flushed through the OS buffers to physical disk. This is somewhat slower, but means data should not be lost if the machine crashes. See also dirstate.fdatasync.


The branch you intend to submit your current work to. This is automatically set by bzr send, and is also used by the submit: revision spec. This should usually be set on a per-branch or per-location basis.


A publically-accessible version of this branch (implying that this version is not publically-accessible). Used (and set) by bzr send.


A list of strings, each string represent a warning that can be emitted by bzr. Mentioning a warning in this list tells bzr to not emit it.

Valid values:

  • format_deprecation:

    whether the format deprecation warning is shown on repositories that are using deprecated formats.


A format name for the default format used when creating branches. See bzr help formats for possible values.

Unicode options


A Python unicode encoding name for text output from bzr, such as log information. Values include: utf8, cp850, ascii, iso-8859-1. The default is the terminal encoding prefered by the operating system.

Branch type specific options

These options apply only to branches that use the dirstate-tags or later format. They are usually set in .bzr/branch/branch.conf automatically, but may be manually set in locations.conf or bazaar.conf.


If set to “True” then revisions can only be appended to the log, not removed. A branch with this setting enabled can only pull from another branch if the other branch’s log is a longer version of its own. This is normally set by bzr init --append-revisions-only. If you set it manually, use either ‘True’ or ‘False’ (case-sensitive) to maintain compatibility with previous bzr versions (older than 2.2).


If present, the location of the default branch for pull or merge. This option is normally set when creating a branch, the first pull or by pull --remember.


If present, the location of the default branch for push. This option is normally set by the first push or push --remember.


If present, defines the --strict option default value for checking uncommitted changes before pushing.


If present, defines the --strict option default value for checking uncommitted changes before pushing into a different VCS without any custom bzr metadata.


The location that commits should go to when acting as a checkout. This option is normally set by bind.


If set to “True”, the branch should act as a checkout, and push each commit to the bound_location. This option is normally set by bind/unbind.


If present, defines the --strict option default value for checking uncommitted changes before sending a merge directive.


Defines the maximum file size the command line “add” operation will allow in recursive mode, with files larger than this value being skipped. You may specify this value as an integer (in which case it is interpreted as bytes), or you may specify the value using SI units, i.e. 10KB, 20MB, 1G. A value of 0 will disable skipping.

External Merge Tools


Defines an external merge tool called <name> with the given command-line. Arguments containing spaces should be quoted using single or double quotes. The executable may omit its path if it can be found on the PATH.

The following markers can be used in the command-line to substitute filenames involved in the merge conflict:

{base}      file.BASE
{this}      file.THIS
{other}     file.OTHER
{result}    output file
{this_temp} temp copy of file.THIS, used to overwrite output file if merge

For example:

bzr.mergetool.kdiff3 = kdiff3 {base} {this} {other} -o {result}

Because mergetool and config itself both use curly braces as interpolation markers, trying to display the mergetool line results in the following problem:

$ bzr config bzr.mergetool.kdiff3='kdiff3 {base} {this} {other} -o {result}'
$ bzr config bzr.mergetool.kdiff3
bzr: ERROR: Option base is not defined while expanding "kdiff3 {base} {this} {other} -o {result}".

To avoid this, config can be instructed not to try expanding variables:

$ bzr config --all bzr.mergetool.kdiff3
  bzr.mergetool.kdiff3 = kdiff3 {base} {this} {other} -o {result}


Specifies which external merge tool (as defined above) should be selected by default in tools such as bzr qconflicts.

For example:

bzr.default_mergetool = kdiff3