How to set up a Subversion (SVN) server on CentOS or Fedora

The open-source community has been using Subversion (or SVN) widely for many collaborative open-source development projects. SVN is supported by all major open-source project hosting sites such as Google Code, GitHub, SourceForge and Launchpad. You can of course set up your own Subversion server in house.

SVN supports several protocols for network access: SVN, SVN+SSH, HTTP, HTTPS. If you are behind a firewall, HTTP-based Subversion is advantageous since SVN traffic will go through the firewall without any additional firewall rule setting. In this tutorial, I will describe how to set up an HTTP-based Subversion server on CentOS or Fedora platform.

First, install Subversion, as well as Subversion module for Apache HTTP server as follows. This will also install Apache HTTP server as a dependency if it is installed.

$ sudo yum install subversion mod_dav_svn

Next, create a local SVN repository which will store code

$ sudo mkdir /svnrepos
$ sudo svnadmin create /svnrepos

Make the SVN repository readable and writable by the same user as the one which Apache HTTP server runs as. On CentOS or Fedora platforms, this user is "apache".

$ sudo chown -R apache.apache /svnrepos

Edit Apache HTTP server configuration as follows.

$ sudo vi /etc/httpd/conf.d/subversion.conf
LoadModule dav_svn_module     modules/mod_dav_svn.so
LoadModule authz_svn_module   modules/mod_authz_svn.so

<Location /svnrepos>
   DAV svn
   SVNPath /svnrepos
   AuthType Basic
   AuthName "Subversion repositories"
   AuthUserFile /etc/svn-auth-users
   Require valid-user
</Location>

Next, add Subversion users who are authorized to access the SVN server. Here I use basic authentication provided by Apache HTTP server. For that, use htpasswd command which creates usernames and password for authenticated HTTP users.

The first time you run htpasswd command, use "-c" option, which will create an initial SVN password file. For subsequent runs of htpasswd command, do not use "-c" option.

$ sudo htpasswd -cm /etc/svn-auth-users user1
New password:
Re-type new password:
Adding password for user user1
$ sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn-auth-users user2
$ sudo htpasswd -m /etc/svn-auth-users user3
. . .

Now restart Apache HTTP server.

$ sudo service httpd restart

At this point, the SVN server should be accessible via HTTP. Go to: "http://<ip-address-svn-server>/svnrepos" to browse the SVN repository via web interface. As shown below, you will be prompted to enter username and password to proceed.

Also, when you try to access the SVN server from SVN client software, you will also be required to authenticate yourself.


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Dan Nanni is the founder and also a regular contributor of Xmodulo.com. He is a Linux/FOSS enthusiast who loves to get his hands dirty with his Linux box. He likes to procrastinate when he is supposed to be busy and productive. When he is otherwise free, he likes to watch movies and shop for the coolest gadgets.
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4 thoughts on “How to set up a Subversion (SVN) server on CentOS or Fedora

  1. This is presumably a nice article, but Subversion is terrible compared to a DVCS like Mercurial or GIT. SVN is free software, but we can move on from the obsolete crap!

  2. Hi all,
    I met this error while yum install mov_dav_svn

    There are unfinished transactions remaining. You might consider running yum-complete-transaction first to finish them.
    --> Running transaction check
    ---> Package mod_dav_svn.x86_64 0:1.6.11-9.el6_4 will be installed
    --> Processing Dependency: httpd-mmn = 20051115 for package: mod_dav_svn-1.6.11-9.el6_4.x86_64
    --> Finished Dependency Resolution
    Error: Package: mod_dav_svn-1.6.11-9.el6_4.x86_64 (base)
    Requires: httpd-mmn = 20051115
    You could try using --skip-broken to work around the problem
    ** Found 37 pre-existing rpmdb problem(s), 'yum check' output follows:

    Need help please!!

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