manage a repository of 0install feeds
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Copyright Thomas Leonard, 2013


The 0repo software provides an easy and reliable way to maintain a repository of 0install software for others to use. It can be run interactively by a single developer on their laptop to maintain a repository of their own programs, or installed as a service to allow a group of people to manage a set of programs together.

Developers place new software releases in an "incoming" directory. 0repo performs various checks on the new release and, if it's OK, adds it to the repository. 0repo signs the published feeds with its GPG key.

The generated files may be rsync'd to a plain web host, without the need for special software on the hosting platform.


  • Can be run automatically as part of a scripted release process (for single-developer use).

  • Can run as a service to accept contributions from multiple developers (not yet implemented).

  • Keeps feeds under version control.

  • Repositories are always consistent (no missing keys, missing stylesheets, invalid URIs, etc).

  • Files can be hosted on a standard web host (e.g. Apache).

  • Provides a catalogue file listing all published feeds, which can be polled automatically by mirror sites (e.g. 0mirror).

  • Supports both archives hosted within the repository and archives hosted externally.


If you're setting up a repository for a single developer then you can use use your existing personal GPG key (if you have one). Otherwise, you should create a new one:

$ gpg --gen-key

You can accept the defaults offered. Make sure you specify an email address, because 0repo uses that as the committer in Git log messages, which require an email address.

Then run "0repo create DIR KEY" to create the new repository (directory DIR will be created to hold the files and will be populated with an initial configuration).

$ 0repo create ~/repositories/myrepo 'John Smith'
$ cd ~/repositories/myrepo

Within this directory you will find:

  • - configuration settings
  • feeds - directory of (unsigned) feeds, initially empty
  • feeds/.git - version control Git repository for the feeds
  • incoming - queue of incoming files to be processed
  • public - output directory (to be rsync'd to hosting provider)

Edit and set the required parameters:

These are required:

  • REPOSITORY_BASE_URL: The base URL for the feeds
  • ARCHIVES_BASE_URL: The base URL for the archives
  • GPG_SIGNING_KEY: Should be already set to the key you specified

These are optional:

  • CONTRIBUTOR_GPG_KEYS: GPG keys of trusted contributors
  • upload_public_dir: Code to upload feeds to web hosting
  • LOCAL_ARCHIVES_BACKUP_DIR: Where to keep local copies of uploaded archives
  • get_archive_rel_url: Layout of your file server (e.g. a single directory or nested)
  • check_new_impl: Policy checks for new code (e.g. check license is present and acceptable)
  • upload_archives: Code to upload archives to archive hosting

Finally, register this repository so that other tools can find it (you need to do this after setting REPOSITORY_BASE_URL):

$ 0repo register
Created new entry in /home/me/.config/ {"path": "/home/me/repositories/myrepo", "type": "local"}

Importing pre-existing feeds

If you've been managing a set of feeds without 0repo, you can import them into it using the add command:

cd .../my-old-repository
0repo add *.xml

The feeds will be added to the feeds directory, with any signatures removed (the signature will be stored in the Git commit message). 0repo looks at the uri attribute in the XML to decide which of the registered repositories to use.

Note: Any archives referenced in the feeds will not be imported or managed by 0repo. It will simply continue using the existing URL. See "Importing or reindexing archives" below if you want 0repo to track your existing archives (this is optional).

If you get it wrong and want to retry, just revert /feeds (which is version controlled with Git) to the previous state. e.g.

$ cd feeds
$ git tag before-import
$ 0repo add .../*.xml
[ Problem ]
$ git reset --hard before-import
[ Fix problem ]
$ 0repo add .../*.xml

Adding a release

To add a release, create a local XML file containing just the new version, with a <feed-for> giving the target feed. For example, you could do this using 0template:

$ 0template someprog.xml.template version=1.2
Writing someprog-1.2.xml

Then, ask 0repo to add the new XML to the repository:

$ 0repo add someprog-1.2.xml

0repo will use the <feed-for> to select the correct repository and will add it there. If the feed doesn't already exist in the repository, 0repo will create a new one for it.


If the archives are to be stored outside of the repository (e.g. an existing 3rd-party release), you can just include the full URL in the XML file.

On the other hand, if you wish to store the release archives in the repository, use a simple name (with no "/" characters) as the href on the <archive> element and place the archive in the same directory as your new XML. e.g.

<archive extract="someprog-1.2" href="someprog-1.2.tar.gz" size="87942"/>

Then run 0repo add on the XML to import it into the repository.

0repo will upload the archive to the repository's file hosting (using the command configured in and insert the full URL into the generated feed.

0repo keeps track of which files have been uploaded where in the /archives.db file. This is a plain text file which you can edit manually if needed. It should always correspond to the state of the remote file hosting. Each time you use 0repo to update the public feeds, it looks up the archive URLs in this file to generate the full URLs in /public.

For example, to migrate all your archives to a new server:

  1. Copy all the files from the old server to the new one.
  2. Do a search-and-replace in archives.db to give the new locations.
  3. Run 0repo update to update the public feeds.

Importing or reindexing archives

You can update the archives.db file from the current state of the archive-backups directory using the 0repo reindex command.

For each file in archive-backups, 0repo will calculate the new URL as config.ARCHIVES_BASE_URL + relative path within the archives directory. It will also update the SHA1 sum.

It displays a list of changes and additions made to the archive and, for changes, saves a copy of the old file. It does not automatically update the public directory; run 0repo update afterwards to do that, if you're happy with the changes.

For example:

$ 0repo reindex
  Old URL:
  New URL:
Old database saved as /home/me/repositories/test/archives.db.old
Updated /home/me/repositories/test/archives.db (changes: 1)
Run '0repo update' to update public feeds.


  • Replace matching absolute URLs with short names under /feeds.
  • Remove missing and unreferenced entries from the database.

The generated files

After importing feeds or adding new versions, 0repo will generate a set of signed feeds in the public directory, along with a catalog.xml file listing all the programs in the repository, the repository's public GPG key and various stylesheets.

When 0repo generates the signed feeds it will also:

  • check that each feed's URI is correct for its location
  • add the stylesheet declaration
  • for each relative <archive>'s href, check that the archive is known and make the URL absolute

The public directory can then be transferred to the hosting provider (e.g. using rsync). Edit the upload_public_dir function in to let 0repo upload it automatically.

Editing feeds

You can edit the unsigned feeds under repo/feeds whenever you want. Running 0repo again will regenerate the signed feeds in repo/public (if the source feed has changed). You should commit your changes with git commit.

To remove a feed, git rm repo/feeds/FEED.xml and run 0repo again.

Retracting a release

If you make a release and then want to remove it, you have several options. You can edit the feed in the feeds directory and set the stability to buggy, e.g.

<implementation id="..." version="..." stability="buggy">

Then run 0repo update to push the new XML to the server. The release still exists, but 0install will avoid selecting it by default.

If you've just made a release and want to remove it completely, you can git revert the commit that added it. Use git log to see the last log entry for your feed, e.g.

$ cd feeds
$ git log -n 1 myfeed.xml
commit e9dfc086bb19f6fb94dc22c27ac2c0e70fbcd5cf
Author: ...
Date:   ...

    Added myprog 1.3

    <?xml version="1.0"?>

Use git revert e9dfc086bb19 (the ID in the "commit" line) to revert it, then 0repo update to push the changes.

If you want to remove an older version, git revert might not work. In that case, you'll have to edit the XML to remove the <implementation>s manually and then run 0repo update.

Either way, once you've pushed the updated XML, you can then remove the archive from the server and from the archives.db file.

Running a shared repository

This is not yet implemented.

For a shared repository: the release tool generates the archives and the XML for the new version, signs the XML with the developer's key, and uploads to a queue (could be e.g. FTP). 0repo downloads the contents of the queue to its incoming directory, checks the signature and merges the new XML into the feed. If there's a problem, it emails the user.

For other edits (e.g. adding a <package-implementation> or adding a missing dependency to an already-released version), the contributor sends a Git pull request. The repository owner merges the pull request and runs 0repo.

Repository files

Here are the technical details about what files are in the repository and what kind of manual editing is safe:

  • /incoming is just a temporary holding area for new files. It should normally be empty, and you can freely delete anything from here.

  • /archives.db is 0repo's idea of what files are on the remote file hosting server. If you move files around on the server, you should update this file to record the new information. You must not delete entries from here that are referenced by feeds under /feeds, otherwise 0repo won't be able to generate the public feeds. If necessary, you can regenerate archives.db from archive-backups using 0repo reindex.

  • /feeds is the state of the feeds in your repository. You can edit these freely. Changes are tracked under Git, and you'll need to commit any changes you make (0repo will refuse to update a feed which has uncommitted changes). You can use git revert, git reset, etc to back out changes.

  • /public contains the generated files. It can be regenerated if lost. 0repo does not resign files if the new file would be otherwise identical to the existing file, and does not overwrite style-sheets, etc. However, you may wish to keep important state in here, so 0repo will never delete it itself and will restrict itself to updating the feeds.

  • /archive-backups contains a copy of files uploaded to the file hosting. It is not read by 0repo in normal operation, but just provides a local backup copy for emergencies.


When 0repo adds a new release, the Git commit message includes the XML, including the signature, if any. This makes it possible to tell whether a malicious update was caused by a compromised 0repo (commit is invalid) or by a compromised contributor (the malicious XML is correctly signed by that contributor).

Commits made by 0repo are signed with its GPG key. You can check these signatures using git log --show-signature in the feeds directory.


This library is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA

The feed.xsl and feed.css stylesheets have their own license; see the file headers for details.

Bug Reports

Please report any bugs to the 0install mailing list.