Subversion Experiences

One person's experience:
The upgrade to version 0.14alpha broke my repository. They really ought to be more explicit about documenting changes to the repository format. Just goes to show that SubVersion is still a few months from being ready to roll out on real projects. Is this comment still true? I haven't used SVN since just before 1.0, but it was pretty nice then. And I never had any problems upgrading, so long as I exported and reimported.

One caveat that may be difficult for CVS users to adapt to. Subversion files and folders do not have version numbers; instead the repository revision number is incremented on every commit. The consequence is that if you choose to store multiple projects in a single repository you will not be able to easily tell which project has changed from version numbers alone. Some people therefore choose to have one subversion repository per project -- this is onerous to maintain and you can't have common code across multiple projects. In my opinion it is better to put all code into a single repository.

This link ( describes the problem beautifully. The subversion developers don't seem to think it's a problem. See for their dismissal of this point.

It is possible to share code across multiple repositories, using the svn:externals property.

And while I'm complaining I wish they had explicit tag and branch commands rather than making it a convention.-- AdewaleOshineye

From these links, it seems that the only requirement for multiple repositories is for those people who don't like seeing version numbers change for files that haven't changed. Is that accurate? Is this anything more than a cosmetic problem?

Well, for traceability/TickIT issues, it's important to be able to identify file versions, IMHO. Indeed. But why do you say SVN doesn't allow you to do that?
I downloaded subversion .32 (Windows). I had it installed and made a repository in about 15 minutes. I downloaded TortoiseSVN which integrates Subversion with Windows Explorer. I was able to import and checkout my website with no problems using Tortoise. Later I noticed that there were not icon overlays (says whether file is dirty or not) over my files. A reboot fixed this.
SubVersion has stabilised a great deal since my comments above. The documentation is much clearer, there's an Eclipse plug-in and you no longer need to install Apache 2 if you want to offer remote access to a repository.-- AdewaleOshineye

I've tried subversion out for my personal projects. It's clean, doesn't break much, nice to use etc. I'd say not to bother with http repositories if you have a choice (of course, for public checkouts http repositories are great), and the only problem I see with using svn for everything are its dependencies on relatively recent software, which results is svn not being available for a couple of environments. I don't know if one can build svn without WebDAV/DeltaV support, though. -- PanuKalliokoski

I've evaluated it briefly and tried to convert a VSS repository with success. However, I do think that not locking source code is something I would have to get used to - in generally agree with philosophy of not locking - just not comfortable with it yet.

After years of being disatisfied with CVS I've finally made the jump to Subversion and good riddence to CVS. I moved to SVN more for the CVS problems it fixes than any new features and I'm quite happy with it. Its so much like CVS that I didn't even bother to read the documentation, just skimmed a few things in the SVN book and went from there.

Installation was easy. fink handled the installation on OS X. Debian packages for Linux. cvs2svn allowed me to convert my CVS repositories and retain revision histories. I'm doing it one-by-one, as I work on a project I move it over.

CVS users, I would recommend reading Appendix A of the SVN book (, "Subversion for CVS users". It quickly lays out the fundamental differences between CVS and SVN. Once you've got your head wrapped around that you're good to go. -- MichaelSchwern
CVS wouldn't cut it for me. I use SubVersion and TortoiseSvn daily over SSH from my office to my home server. I've been very happy with the stability and features of SubVersion 1.0.6 and TortoiseSVN 1.0.8. -- WilliamFrantz

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