Problems with deleting tags?

Joshua Judson Rosen rozzin at
Fri Apr 15 19:10:43 UTC 2016

On 04/15/2016 01:27 PM, ckalisiak at wrote:
> Ah, ok, thanks for checking into that.
> We rarely run into this problem; we've been using Bazaar for 5 years,
> and this is the first time it's escalated to this point. The tag in
> particular was a release tag that we decided to delete because of an
> issue found during the release process. We needed to re-apply the tag
> at a newer revision, but couldn't remove the old one.

Since nobody appears to have said this explicitly...:

Basically, the issue you're having is related to the fact that tags in Bazaar
are just not, themselves, revision-controlled; so operations on tags
don't propagate with anything like the same level of sophistication as
content-revisions do: tags are basically managed with a simple *two-way merge*
(when you push or pull, the set of tags at the receiving side simply ends up
 being the union of all of the tags from both branches).

So, basically, you need to be careful to only put tags on things when
you really mean it. For tagging releases..., this remark might not go
over well..., but basically this means that the "bzr tag" command
wants to be nearer to the _end_ of your release process than the beginning;
i.e.: once a release tag is published/propagated to a scope where
it becomes difficult to take it back, you deal with the "oh, no, I didn't
mean to release _that_!" situation by _doing an additional point release_.

It's basically the same situation as with rebasing or uncommitting:
being able to create not just *revision history* but *revisionist history*
is a great tool... right up to the point just before you publish,
but not beyond that point.

To be fair to bzr, the situation is generally the same with other
VC systems--excepting what svn did, I guess: svn did sort-of make
an attempt at `supporting revision-controlled tags'....
But then svn's whole concept of `supporting tags' was to not even
actually have a tagging feature and just say `make a copy of that
revision and put it into a directory that you can name "tags"
if you want to'....

> We'll just manually delete the "immortal tags" on a case-by-case basis.

Yes. The one time I had this problem and decided to deal with it, I just
send everyone a short shell script and said something like "we messed up,
but because we're a closed group we can actually clean this mess up
instead of just accepting it: please stop developing, run this in whatever
directories you do your bzr work in, I'll run it on the server,
and then after we all regroup and confirm we've erased all traces of this
we can get back to work". The script did something like "start in $HOME,
find all of the bzr branches, find the bad tag(s) in those branches and
remove them".

Note that when I say "the one time I had this problem and decided to deal with it",
the emphasis is on the last part ("... and decided to deal with it")... :)

I've run into this (or at least similar issues) other times than that,
but just had to accept that the mistakes happened and move on--because
they were in public repositories by the time I noticed.

Even if revision control means never having to say you're sorry,
it does sometimes mean having to admit you were wrong :)

> From: Alexander Belchenko <alexander.belchenko at>
> To: Vincent Ladeuil <v.ladeuil+lp at>
> Cc: ckalisiak at, bazaar <bazaar at>
> Date: 04/15/2016 11:51 AM
> Subject: Re: Problems with deleting tags?
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 2016-04-15 18:46 GMT+03:00 Alexander Belchenko <_alexander.belchenko at gmail.com_ <mailto:alexander.belchenko at>>:
>     Note: bzr 2.6b1 official Windows build works OK for me.
> Sorry, I should have checked first. There is no --overwrite-tags flag either :-/

"Don't be afraid to ask (λf.((λx.xx) (λr.f(rr))))."

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