DoIT Shared Version Control - (subversion) FAQ

These are frequently asked questions regarding the shared version control system hosted at

NOTE: DoIT's SVN repository is planned for shutdown this fall, please consider in place of it.

Where can I access the system?

From UW Madison Campus IPs

My regular NetID/password doesn't work. What credentials do I use?

The Subversion repositories do not use your NetID password to authenticate because of security concerns with clients that don't encrypt cached passwords, convenience for users that want or need to have their client cache their password, and to allow for non-NetID access to repositories.

In place of your password, we will generate a secure random token that you will use to authenticate to your Subversion repositories. Since this token will only gain access to your Subversion repositories, you can feel safe in letting your Subversion client cache the token. However, if you work in a shared environment where non-project-collaborators will be able to view your home directory, then you should configure your client to not cache the token.

What clients are supported? Where can I get them?


How do I get a repository for my project?

Create it yourself here:

How do I give others access to my repository?

You can create groups and assign permissions here:

Who has administrative rights to my repository?

Any member of the 'owners' group of your repository can administer it.  Initially the person who creates the repository is the only member of the owners group.  An owner can add other members to the owners group.

Are there role based accounts?

Yes.  Role accounts can be used for scripted access to your repository, or if you need to allow non-NetID user access.

Can I give anonymous access to part of my repository?

Yes.  Be careful not to expose sensitive information.

How is this repository system backed up?

Nightly subversion repository dumps which are then backed up using Bucky Backup

Can I restore my repository if I delete it from the administrative interface?

Yes, e-mail us.

Can I get more quota?

Yes, e-mail us.

What are the naming conventions for repositories? How do I avoid naming conflicts?

Repository names are global in scope, so please pick a name appropriately.  For example, don't call your repository "cms"; instead call it "mydepartment-cms".

Are there general recommendations on how I should organize or configure my repository?


Are there general recommendations or policies on what I can store in my repository?

What, like your personal MP3 collection?  Don't do that.

Be reasonable.  Keep your code, configs, and even some static content (web images).  Don't keep tarballs, installers or other large files if you can avoid it.

Also, avoid storing sensitive information like keys and passwords.  Even if you don't give anonymous access to that part of your repository, you still need to be careful if you work in a shared environment.

What are the default permissions set on the repository?

The default directory permission gives the 'owners' group read and write access to '/'.  Anonymous access is denied.  Permissions are inherited.

Can I logout of the repository when viewing with my browser?

If you are browsing your repository from your web browser (e.g. you cannot log out.  The only way to  log out is to close your browser.  The reason for this is because browsers do not support logout of Basic Auth (

Of course, you can log out of the administrative application ( since it uses NetID Login (pubcookie).

How can I migrate my code from another repository?

It probably depends on each situation, so e-mail us. You can also see this page for more detailed information.

Is there a sandbox or test repository I can experiment with?

Sure, just create one in our test environment here:

How can I get hooks or scripts integrated with my repository?

Email notifications is the most common hook script, and that hook script is built in to all repositories.  If you would like to implement a custom hook script, then we have built in the ability for the subversion server to execute a hook script that is running as a web application on your server.  

Are there any utility scripts or tools available to help me manage my repository or my change management process?

See Tour of Subversion tools and techniques.

What is Fisheye?

It helps a fish see things, and it's also the name of a software application that helps you browse your repository.  FishEye is available to all.  More here:

What is Crucible?

It's the name of a software application that helps with peer reviews of code.  Crucible is available to all.  More here: 

The SSL certificate message does not allow the files to be displayed in the SVNX client.

Run svn from the terminal (svn list <repository URL>). It then allows the certificate to be saved and svnX will work after that.

Where can I find out more information on using Subversion?


My Question was not Answered

Please e-mail us.

Keywords:subversion vcs cvs rcs version control faq   Doc ID:19059
Owner:Jesse T.Group:Shared Tools
Created:2011-07-06 19:00 CDTUpdated:2016-03-09 12:36 CDT
Sites:DoIT Help Desk, Shared Tools
Feedback:  0   0