nLab meta

The data of the nlab and other personal webs is now available as a bzr repository. This means that it is possible for anyone to make a backup of the source “code” of the pages of the nlab, together with all the history, or any other publicly available personal web, over the internet without needing access to the main server.

The basic steps are:

  1. Get hold of a version control system that can read bzr repositories. bzr is the “program name” for Bazaar, the website of which is It can be installed on any of the major operating systems.

  2. If you want to take backups of the nlab itself, please download the initial “seed” repository (444 MB) as it is rather large (daily updates are much smaller). After putting this somewhere and uncompressing it (tar -xvzf nlab.tar.gz), it then needs to be synced with the central repository. This is probably done by running the command bzr pull inside the repository directory.

  3. Personal webs can skip the “seed” step as none is quite the size of the nlab! To get such a repository for the first time, run bzr branch LOCATION where LOCATION is the address of the bzr repository for your personal web (so you need to find this out first). After this initial step, you can update it each time you want to take a backup by running bzr pull.

  4. Then, using some scheduler (UNIX systems would typically use cron on a machine that is always on, or anacron on a machine that is sometimes off), the synchronisation (i.e. bzr pull) should be scheduled to take place each day.

Last revised on August 3, 2014 at 14:52:40. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.