Recording changes

bzr commit

When the working tree state is satisfactory, it can be committed to the branch, creating a new revision holding a snapshot of that state.

The commit command takes a message describing the changes in the revision. It also records your userid, the current time and timezone, and the inventory and contents of the tree. The commit message is specified by the -m or --message option. You can enter a multi-line commit message; in most shells you can enter this just by leaving the quotes open at the end of the line.

% bzr commit -m "added my first file"

You can also use the -F option to take the message from a file. Some people like to make notes for a commit message while they work, then review the diff to make sure they did what they said they did. (This file can also be useful when you pick up your work after a break.)

Message from an editor

If you use neither the -m nor the -F option then bzr will open an editor for you to enter a message. The editor to run is controlled by your $VISUAL or $EDITOR environment variable, which can be overridden by the editor setting in ~/.bazaar/bazaar.conf; $BZR_EDITOR will override either of the above mentioned editor options. If you quit the editor without making any changes, the commit will be cancelled.

The file that is opened in the editor contains a horizontal line. The part of the file below this line is included for information only, and will not form part of the commit message. Below the separator is shown the list of files that are changed in the commit. You should write your message above the line, and then save the file and exit.

If you would like to see the diff that will be committed as you edit the message you can use the --show-diff option to commit. This will include the diff in the editor when it is opened, below the separator and the information about the files that will be committed. This means that you can read it as you write the message, but the diff itself wont be seen in the commit message when you have finished. If you would like parts to be included in the message you can copy and paste them above the separator.

Selective commit

If you give file or directory names on the commit command line then only the changes to those files will be committed. For example:

% bzr commit -m "documentation fix"

By default bzr always commits all changes to the tree, even if run from a subdirectory. To commit from only the current directory down, use:

% bzr commit .

Giving credit for a change

If you didn’t actually write the changes that you are about to commit, for instance if you are applying a patch from someone else, you can use the --author commit option to give them credit for the change:

% bzr commit --author "Jane Rey <>"

The person that you specify there will be recorded as the “author” of the revision, and you will be recorded as the “committer” of the revision.

If more than one person works on the changes for a revision, for instance if you are pair-programming, then you can record this by specifying --author multiple times:

% bzr commit --author "Jane Rey <>" \
    --author "John Doe <>"

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