using bazaar as root

Jelmer Vernooij jelmer at
Sat Dec 20 00:02:13 GMT 2008

Hi Barry,

Am Freitag, den 19.12.2008, 18:41 -0500 schrieb Barry Warsaw:
> On Dec 19, 2008, at 6:25 PM, Jelmer Vernooij wrote:
> > I'm not sure if this means file permissions will never be supported,  
> > but
> > there are certainly other features higher on the wishlist.
> Is it a problem in practice?
> I've been version controlling my /etc files for years using Subversion  
> (I'm hoping to find some quality time over the holidays to finally  
> convert my repository to bzr).  I've never really had a problem with  
> file permissions or ownership.  I did have lots of problems getting  
> this all set up with Subversion, which I won't go into details about  
> right now.
> However, once set up, it's been very smooth to version control the / 
> etc files.  I generally ssh into the box in question, then sudo  
> (preserving the env) to do commits, and it seems to work just fine.   
> Preservation of perms/ownership is key here, although when I'm  
> (un?)lucky enough to have to set up a new machine, the initial  
> checkout of an existing /etc layout is problematic - mostly because of  
> those hinted at svn problems.
> Day-to-day though, it's never a problem.  Would you expect more  
> problems with bzr in this regard?
As long as you don't do reverts and the like, it shouldn't be a problem
anymore than with Subversion, but bad things can happen if you "bzr
revert /etc/passwd" without adjusting the mode I suspect. We also use
Subversion for this purpose at my study association, and we explicitly
don't version files only readable by root there to prevent this.

It's nice to have the bzr branch work as a backup though, and this
requires it to store file permissions / ownership. 

Applications like etckeeper (which supports bzr) can store the modes and
owner information in a separate versioned plaintext file with a bunch of
chmod/chown commands. This seems like a better idea than adding file
mode/owner support to bzr, since it doesn't have as many portability
requirements as bzr (it's specific to POSIX machines and to a local



Jelmer Vernooij <jelmer at> -
Jabber: jelmer at
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