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Moderators: martimiz, Sean, Ed, biapar, Willr, Ingo

Subversion: SvnServe VS Apache?

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11 Posts   10203 Views


Forum Moderator, 628 Posts

12 July 2007 at 10:15am

Edited: 12/07/2007 10:19am

Right, so we've done most of the work required to get the SVN repository open, which is great news. However, we'd like people to provide insight on whether it should be opened using svnserve or Apache. The server is a dual pentium4 3ghz with a gig of ram, and other than SVN, it only handles a couple of dozen email addresses (exim + imap), websites (primarily trac), and because its in our office, we have a number of samba shares to it. So, point is, its not really overwhelmed with work; if anything its SVN and trac.

In terms of usage, we're not certain of what to expect. There's the core team, of which perhaps a dozen of us use SVN constantly through the day, often to other private areas of SVN, and there's out global community. Presumeably in the scheme of things, our repository and usage is inconsequential in comparison to large projects like Ruby on Rails, so we don't need to over intellectualise the debate ...

Hayden, doing the work, asks:
Does anyone think that it might be a good idea to serve this through
Apache rather than the svnserve application? Points to consider:

* This should handle load better than svnserve via inetd which has been
flaky in the past with emails and might be under prolonged. Apache's
security is also more robust than svnserve. I think that mod_dav_svn is
the recommended way of doing this.
(Or should we just move to a daemon)

* I don't know if you can simultaneously serve the same repository with
both the svn and http protocols. Relocating repositories is simple, but
time-consuming for multiple repositories. Eclipse provides a facility to
do this easily though.

Basically, does the added robustness of Apache justify the inconvenience
of switching our repositories to http from svn? I would say that it does
given public access of version control systems are common for open source


Community Member, 3 Posts

12 July 2007 at 12:19pm

Hmm, dilemma huh?

Yes it is unfortunate that the svnserve authentication protocol uses only plaintext passwords. You would have thought they could have at least used a simple challenge-response protocol. The SVN client doesn't even support SSL tunnelling, either!

I personally wouldn't recommend Apache2+mod_dav_svn, either. I'm not confident with the quality and stability of Apache2. But I realise if you're stuck on SVN, it might be your only option, and at the end of the day it does have a large user base so perhaps that will outweigh its latent shite-ness.

I recommended bazaar before as an established, user-friendly VCS that would offer many benefits to development - did you try it out? It doesn't suffer from the same brain-damage!


Community Member, 3 Posts

12 July 2007 at 12:22pm

FWIW, serving via both svnserve and HTTP/HTTPS works fine. Users will appreciate the svnserve approach because it's much faster than the hairy WebDAV SVN stack.


Forum Moderator, 628 Posts

12 July 2007 at 12:35pm

Edited: 12/07/2007 12:35pm

Sam... thanks. I wondered how you'd reply without mentioning GIT but still knocking SVN :P
(But I'm not sure that it lets you off me handing you over to the BlairWitch while we're in Portland...)


Forum Moderator, 628 Posts

12 July 2007 at 5:21pm

Looks like we'll try svnserve running as a daemon, then?


Forum Moderator, 628 Posts

13 July 2007 at 10:40am

on #svn I asked this and got this random response.

I run both, to provide svn:// svn+ssh:// http{,s}:// (and, of course file:///, which is rarely used)
svnserve I still run through xinetd, it hasn't had enough load yet to consider making it a daemon
both svnserve and http access can use AUTHZ for extended (directory based) access control


Google Summer of Code Hacker, 39 Posts

14 July 2007 at 9:42am

ill preface this by saying that the repos i have deployed/managed do not measure up in size and activity to what yours will be, but my experiences have me leaning towards apache

to me it seemed more manageable as far as authentication and obviously the interface


Forum Moderator, 628 Posts

14 July 2007 at 3:09pm

was it very slow? can you provide us with a link to any old repository that has both svnserve and apache running so we can experience the speed difference? :P

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