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Using Subversion

Our developers are located all around the world. To enable them to work together on our software, we keep the source code in an Internet-accessible revision control system called Subversion (SVN). Apache committers have write access to the Subversion repository, enabling them to make changes to the source code. Everyone has read access to the repositories, so you may download the most up-to-date development version of the software.

If you are looking for a stable release of the source code, you should download it from the distribution directory . The Subversion repository should only be used if you want to be on the *bleeding-edge* of the development effort. The code contained there may fail to work, or it may even eat your hard drive.

There are several ways to access the Subversion repository:

Web Access

If you just wish to browse around or download a few individual files, the best tool is the web-based ViewVC interface for Subversion . You can also go straight to the public repository at .

Anonymous Subversion

To access the Subversion repository anonymously, you need a Subversion client. You can also browse for projects via .

Choose the module you would like and check it out. For example, to get the Spamassassin module, use:

$ svn checkout spamassassin

For more help on using Subversion, consult the Subversion website or Subversion book . The web site provides a list of clients and useful links (including a link to the Eclipse plug-in ).

Committer Subversion access

We currently use HTTPS basic authentication for logging in to Subversion ( certificate info below ). To change your password, visit .

This will prompt you to enter a svn password of your choice. Pick a safe password! If you cannot log in, or have lost your password, Visit to reset it.

When you make changes, you can commit them with your username/password combination, i.e.

$ svn co excalibur-trunk
$ cd excalibur-trunk
$ echo "test" > test.txt
$ svn add test.txt
$ svn commit --username your-name --password your-password \
  --message "Trying out svn"

svnserve is not supported, nor is svn+ssh.

Configuring the Subversion client


svn add test.txt svn propset svn:eol-style native test.txt

Your svn client can be configured to do that automatically for some common file types.

Add the contents of the file to the bottom of your ~/.subversion/config file. For Windows this is normally found at C:\\Documents and Settings\\{username}\\Application Data\\Subversion\\config -or- For Windows 7 at C:\\Users\\{username}\\AppData\\Roaming\\Subversion\\config]

Some files may need additional properties to be set. For example, apply svn:executable=* to those script files (e.g..bat,.cgi,.cmd,.sh) that are intended to be executed. Since not all such files are necessarily intended to be executed, the executable property should not be made an automatic default.

However, you should still pay attention to the messages from your svn client when you do 'svn commit'.

Tip: If you use TortiseSVN, a popular Windows GUI client that integrates with Windows Explorer, you can simply right-click in Explorer and select TortiseSVN - Settings, and then press the "Edit" button to update your "Subversion configuration file:". Copy the above svn-eol-style.txt file's contents into the end of the config editor (usually Notepad) that appears, and save the file.

SSL Server certificate

The server certificate for is a real SSL certificate. However, Subversion, by default, does not currently ship with a list of trusted CAs. So, here's some information to help you verify the validity of our cert:

Hostname: *
Valid: from Mon, 19 Dec 2011 22:00:00 GMT until Mon, 17 Feb 2014 21:59:59 GMT
Issuer: Thawte, Inc., US
Fingerprint: bc:5f:40:92:fd:6a:49:aa:f8:b8:35:0d:ed:27:5e:a6:64:c1:7a:1b

Note that the SSL certificate for our Subversion repository is different from certificates used when logging into Apache infrastructure - please see the New Committer guide for more information .

Problems with Subversion?

"Error validating server certificate" errors

Error validating server certificate for '':
 - The certificate is not issued by a trusted authority. Use the
   fingerprint to validate the certificate manually!
Certificate information:
 - Hostname: *
 - Valid: from Tue, 20 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT until Mon, 17 Feb 2014 23:59:59 GMT
 - Issuer: Thawte, Inc., US
 - Fingerprint: bc:5f:40:92:fd:6a:49:aa:f8:b8:35:0d:ed:27:5e:a6:64:c1:7a:1b
(R)eject or accept (t)emporarily

On some platforms, the root Thawte certificate, used to sign the Apache SSL cert, is not made available to OpenSSL and Subversion. Fix this by downloading the Thawte root certificate, and updating your Subversion servers file accordingly to use it for SSL validation:

  1. Save the [Thawte root certificate] (in .pem format) to a suitable path, for example, in your ~/.subversion/ directory, or on Windows, in %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Subversion\ folder.
  2. In the servers file, found in the same folder, add the following to the [global] section, adding the section if required, and amending the path appropriately:
    ssl-authority-files = /full/path/to/thawte_Premium_Server_CA.pem
    ssl-trust-default-ca = true

Re-trying the Subversion operation should now succeed. In some cases, you may additionally need to move to a more recent svn client. Version 1.6 or higher should be sufficient.

[Thawte root certificate]:

"svn: No such revision 765287" errors

If you're getting an error message like the following:

svn: No such revision 765287

This may be because of a short lag in the synchronization between Subversion mirrors, and can occur if multiple commits are run immediately after each other. This error will usually only happen if you are located in Europe, or are explicitly using the European mirror.

Waiting for ten seconds and repeating the command should succeed.

"specified baseline is not the latest baseline" errors

If you're getting an error message like the following:

svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: The specified baseline is not the latest baseline, so it may not be
checked out.

This may be because of a short lag in the synchronization between Subversion mirrors, and can occur if multiple commits are run immediately after each other. This error will usually only happen if you are located in Europe, or explicitly using the European mirror.

Waiting for ten seconds and repeating the command should succeed.

"Compressed stream invalid" errors

If you're getting an error message like the following:

svn: PROPFIND of '/repos/asf/foobar':
Compressed stream invalid (

That's a known issue in the neon client library which has been fixed in neon 0.24.7. A workaround is to disable compression in your client. Edit ~/.subversion/servers. Uncomment the [global] section if neccessary, and add a line that reads

http-compression = no

That should "fix" the problem until you can upgrade neon.

Problems using date revisions

If you are using a date revision such as -r{2004-09-12}:{2004-08-12} and not getting any or all of the revisions you expected, this is a known problem specific to the ASF repository.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to improve this situation, so you must use a workaround. You can use svn log or ViewVC to locate the first actual revision number after the date you desire, and substitute that into your -r argument to the svn command.

For example, consider the desired command:

$ svn diff -rHEAD:{2005-01-01}

When this produces no output, running svn log alone shows:

r124032 | aheritier | 2005-01-04 09:58:16 +1100 (Tue, 04 Jan 2005) | 1 line
Switch to subversion
r123911 | brett | 2005-01-03 09:48:57 +1100 (Mon, 03 Jan 2005) | 1 line
remove nagoya references
r116173 | brett | 2004-10-23 22:11:51 +1000 (Sat, 23 Oct 2004) | 2 lines
remove old requires descriptions

So, the comand above should become:

$ svn diff -rHEAD:123911

The particular reason this occurs is because the order of the revisions is not identical to the order of dates in the repository. This is a side effect of loading CVS repositories with history with dates prior to the latest date in the Subversion repository.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Do I Need To Use svn lock?

Very rarely. Commits in subversion are transactional. This means that locks are almost always unnecessary.

An oft-quoted use case is to prevent concurrent editing of a large unmergeable binary document. However, for open development, good communication is preferable to locking even in this use case. A clear, timely post to the list to let your fellow developers know that you're going to start editing that huge PDF is better than locking the file.

How frequently can I run a cron that connects to the repository?

Hourly is fine. Please do not use programs that poll the repository more frequently than hourly. People who run automated scripts that continuously poll the repository wind up getting their access denied, which may impact other folks connecting through the same host. If you need to stay more in-sync than an hourly cron allows, subscribe your script to the relevant commit mailing list.

How do I mirror the entire SVN repository for my experimental $foo?

First, ask yourself: do I really want the *entire* ASF repository? Generally most people really want only a single project. In that case, just check out that source directory from the repo.

If you really do want the entire ASF repository, *don't* use svnsync. Instead, start by looking here: [][1] Use that to bootstrap your repo.

Why Do I Get a 403 When I Try To Commit?

Run svn info and check that the URL starts with https://. If it starts with http://, run:

$ svn switch --relocate

If you still get 403 Forbidden errors, ask your PMC to double-check the authz file and LDAP/Unix group membership.

[1]: moved here.