Andrew Channels Dexter Pinion

Wherein I write some stuff that you may like to read. Or not, its up to you really.

February 20, 2004

Subversion 1.0

According to the status page Subversion is releasing version 1.0 on Monday. Which is nice. So I went looking for a decent Mac OS X client. Luckily for me there is one available via fink, I just hope it gets updated to the 1.0 release as soon as possible. Of course, a nice pointy clicky interface would be good too.

Why do I care? Well, I'm looking to set up a repository on my home network and was trying to decide which tool to use. I've used CVS, so I know its strengths and weaknesses. I looked at tla/arch but shared AMK's misgivings. I will keep an eye on its progress though. Discovering the milestone 1.0 release of Subversion was the deciding factor.

Right. I'm off to read the manual.

<Update>I spoke too soon. The fink code is in unstable, and I don't want to go there. I run unstable on my Debian system and I specifically bought the Mac to be my stable, sensible machine. Oh, and my fink setup is broken anyway because it tried to install X11 over my Apple X11 package. I think. I may have to burn the whole machine to recover, or possibly just de and re install.</Update>

Posted by Andy Todd at February 20, 2004 02:20 PM


For what it may be worth, I've been using Subversion for a while now, and it has done what it is supposed to do, and done it without problems. Admittedly, I've been using it for my single-person development projects, running on my home server, so I haven't really been stressing svn very much, but overall the system seems to work pretty well.

Posted by: phoukka on February 20, 2004 05:27 PM

I've been using it happily as well. Despite AMK's comments, Subversion also works well for offline use -- you can't commit, but everything else works. Subversion caches a lot of information on a checkout to make this possible, and it also makes Subversion very fast and responsive since it avoids the network when possible.

I haven't had a chance to look at the Java interfaces, but they're probably your best best for GUIs -- we're going to start using it for non-developers on Mac OS X at some point, so it may be useful. OTOH, the command-line client is always available, including over ssh and other environments where you may want to do a subversion checkout. So maybe it's best not to try to soften the command-line blow, because ultimately it's an important feature.

Posted by: Ian Bicking on February 20, 2004 06:45 PM

Well, I can't fix a broken fink for you, but I can report that I installed my svn client from fink unstable, and it works, though I had to try three times before it successfully compiled. I didn't have to *do* anything, mind you, I just kept pressing the "build from source" button, and each time it got a bit farther in the process until it built successfully.

As for GUIs, I haven't used one. I mostly use the command line tools, and have started experimenting with SVN integration in Eric3. Other than that, you may want to take a look at the SCPlugin (, which provides a context menu for OS X's Finder -- right-click on a directory or file, get a list of SVN and CVS actions you can run.

Posted by: phoukka on February 21, 2004 12:25 AM

i'm waiting until the fink package maintainer updates the svn-client to only require apr, instead of trying to install yet another full-blown apache installation.

Posted by: rayg on February 21, 2004 05:34 AM

Do you really believe that Debian unstable *is* actually unstable ? I've been using it for a while now and I think the unstable monicka is just a little undeserved. I mean, the actual stable branch is so ancient it's practically fossilised now.

The only dangerous branches of debian are testing and experimental if you ask me :) (Which I note, you didn't!)

Posted by: Bryan Childs on February 24, 2004 09:34 AM

You don't need to reinstall your whole Mac just to fix your fink installation. It is very easy to uninstall fink. Read the FAQ at

After that go reinstall Apples X11 and X11 SDK and reinstall fink. That should work. If you have more problems please report them to the fink-user mailing list. People are normally very helpful there:

As for the Fink svn package: I am the package maintainer and i do what i can to provide a usable svn installation. I released the package for version 1.0.0 yesterday. Please try it out.

Fink has the disadvantage at the moment, that it can't provide binary packages for the unstable tree, due to missing ressources (both hardware and volunteers). I hope that this will change in the future.

Until this is fixed you still need to build all packages that are not yet moved to the unstable tree. And that means, in the case of svn, that you need to build all dependencies both for the client and the server just to get a working client.

As soon as i get enough positive feedback from people installing the latest package i can move it to the stable tree so that it can be included into the next binary distribution.

Fink just hasn't got the same amount of support yet as other distributions (like e.g. debian) have. But with your help it will hopefully change in the future.

I hope i enlightened this a little with my comments. Please feel free to contact me via the provided email adress.

Best, Chris.

Posted by: Christian Schaffner on February 24, 2004 09:42 PM

Just my 2 bits: I've been eargerly awaiting subversion 1.0. Now that it's here, I must say I'm dissapointed with the current form of the Fink .info file for it. It's too ambitious, depending on everything (swig, apachde2, etc.) and the kitchen sink (java). I think a light-weight (no languague binding and probably no apache2) version will get you a lot more feedback, quicker too.
As it stands, I'm just building subversion manually - though using db4 from Fink unstable. Perhaps that's a sign of a problem that I find this route easier than using Fink to install svn in the first place?

Posted by: Dietrich on February 29, 2004 08:45 PM

I meant to add - thank you!, for doing this work in the first place. My original comment is meant as constructive criticism, not whining.


Posted by: Dietrich on February 29, 2004 08:47 PM

Dietrich: I am fully aware of that problem. As i do this stuff in my free-time i don't have the resources right now to maintain another (more light-weight) package. I already got a lot of positive feedback from the package. I will therefore be able to move it to the stable tree as soon as the packages it depends on are there.

Once a binary info is available the problems you describe will be solved since you then can do 'sudo apt-get install svn-client-ssl'. That will not involve building all dependencies.

Posted by: Christian Schaffner on March 2, 2004 06:10 PM

The binary version of the subversion fink package is now available. Update your package descriptions ('fink selfupdate-rsync', then 'sudo apt-get update') and then install the binary client package with 'sudo apt-get install svn-client-ssl'.

You will no longer need to install any packages like python, ruby, apache2 etc. They are only needed during the build of the binary package and/or for special package split-offs (e.g. svn-ssl-swig-py23).

I hope this makes things a little clearer.

I am looking forward to your feedback. Chris.

Posted by: Christian Schaffner on April 14, 2004 03:52 PM