Subversion, also known as SVN, is a version control system much like the Concurrent Versions System (CVS). Version control systems allow many individuals (who may be distributed geographically) to collaborate on a set of files (typically source code). Subversion has all the major features of CVS, plus certain new features that CVS users often wish they had.
Some version control systems are also software configuration management (SCM) systems. These systems are specifically tailored to manage trees of source code and have many features that are specific to software development – such as natively understanding programming languages, or supplying tools for building software. Subversion, however, is not one of these systems. It is a general system that can be used to manage any collection of files.
The Subversion project produces Subversion’s core libraries, a fully functional command line client (svn), repository administration programs, API bindings for various languages (Perl, Python, Java, Ruby, etc.), and various additional tools and scripts.
Subversion is widely used in open source projects, such as KDE, Apache, gcc, Python, Ruby, ExtJS, Free BSD and many more.
- Two types of repository storage are available:
- FSFS (Fast Secure File System).
- Berkeley DB.
- Commits are true atomic operations. Interrupted commit operations do not cause repository inconsistency or corruption.
- Renamed/copied/moved/removed files retain full revision history.
- Directories, renames, and file metadata (but not timestamps) are versioned. Entire directory trees can be moved around and/or copied very quickly, and retain full revision history.
- Versioning of symbolic links.
- Native support for binary files, with space-efficient binary-diff storage.
- Apache HTTP Server as network server, WebDAV/DeltaV for protocol. There is also an independent server process that uses a custom protocol over TCP/IP.
- Branching and tagging are cheap operations, independent of file size, though Subversion itself does not distinguish between a tag, a branch, and a directory.
- Natively client/server, layered library design.
- Client/server protocol sends diffs in both directions.
- Costs are proportional to change size, not data size.
- Parsable output, including XML log output.
- Internationalized program messages.
- File locking for unmergeable files (“reserved checkouts”).
- Path-based authorization.
- PHP, Python, Perl, and Java language bindings.
- Full MIME support – the MIME Type of each file can be viewed or changed, with the software knowing which MIME types can have their differences from previous versions shown.
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