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Version Control with Subversion, 2nd Edition by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman, C. Michael Pilato

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Invoking the Server

There are a few different ways to run the svnserve program:

  • Run svnserve as a standalone daemon, listening for requests.

  • Have the Unix inetd daemon temporarily spawn svnserve whenever a request comes in on a certain port.

  • Have SSH invoke a temporary svnserve over an encrypted tunnel.

  • Run svnserve as a Microsoft Windows service.

svnserve as daemon

The easiest option is to run svnserve as a standalone daemon process. Use the -d option for this:

$ svnserve -d
$               # svnserve is now running, listening on port 3690

When running svnserve in daemon mode, you can use the --listen-port and --listen-host options to customize the exact port and hostname to bind to.

Once we successfully start svnserve as explained previously, it makes every repository on your system available to the network. A client needs to specify an absolute path in the repository URL. For example, if a repository is located at /var/svn/project1, a client would reach it via svn://host.example.com/var/svn/project1. To increase security, you can pass the -r option to svnserve, which restricts it to exporting only repositories below that path. For example:

$ svnserve -d -r /var/svn
...

Using the -r option effectively modifies the location that the program treats as the root of the remote filesystem space. Clients then use URLs that have that path portion removed from them, leaving much shorter (and much less revealing) URLs:

$ svn checkout svn://host.example.com/project1
...

svnserve via inetd

If you want inetd

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