This documentation was written to describe the 1.7.x series of Apache™ Subversion®. If you are running a different version of Subversion, you are strongly encouraged to visit and instead consult the version of this documentation appropriate for your version of Subversion.


This book is written for computer-literate folk who want to use Subversion to manage their data. While Subversion runs on a number of different operating systems, its primary user interface is command-line-based. That command-line tool (svn), and some additional auxiliary programs, are the focus of this book.

For consistency, the examples in this book assume that the reader is using a Unix-like operating system and is relatively comfortable with Unix and command-line interfaces. That said, the svn program also runs on non-Unix platforms such as Microsoft Windows. With a few minor exceptions, such as the use of backward slashes (\) instead of forward slashes (/) for path separators, the input to and output from this tool when run on Windows are identical to that of its Unix counterpart.

Most readers are probably programmers or system administrators who need to track changes to source code. This is the most common use for Subversion, and therefore it is the scenario underlying all of the book's examples. But Subversion can be used to manage changes to any sort of information—images, music, databases, documentation, and so on. To Subversion, all data is just data.

While this book is written with the assumption that the reader has never used a version control system, we've also tried to make it easy for users of CVS (and other systems) to make a painless leap into Subversion. Special sidebars may mention other version control systems from time to time, and Appendix B, Subversion for CVS Users summarizes many of the differences between CVS and Subversion.

Note also that the source code examples used throughout the book are only examples. While they will compile with the proper compiler incantations, they are intended to illustrate a particular scenario and not necessarily to serve as examples of good programming style or practices.