What’s New in Apache Subversion 1.7?

The Apache folks have released Subversion 1.7, an update of one of the most popular open source version control systems. This release includes a number of performance improvements, new client and server features, and distribution and license changes.

One of the major changes in this release is a move to a new metadata format that does not require multiple .svn directories in working copies. Instead, working copies will have a single metadata directory.

New Tools, Performance Improvements

The release also improves the HTTP protocol usage, which will require fewer round-trips to make a connection. This will improve performance, especially for high-latency network connections.

The 1.7 release brings a new tool for creating remote dumps of Subversion repositories called (appropriately) svnrdump. Subversion also gets a bunch of features that improve its ability to show “diffs”, including a new option inspired by git.

Known Issues, License Changes

Subversion was originally primarily sponsored by CollabNet, but is now under the Apache umbrella. Subversion graduated as an official Apache Project in February of 2010 after joining the Apache Incubator process in November of 2009. This release, being the first “official feature release” for Apache Subversion, carries a standard Apache License, version 2 instead of the modified Apache license Subversion used previously.

Users looking at upgrading to 1.7 should take a look at the known issues. Specifically, Mac users that have upgraded to 10.7 will run into problems with the SQLite shipped with OS X. The Subversion project plans to fix this with 1.7.1. For users that are still on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2 (64-bit), there’s a known issue with the standard compiler shipped on that release. If compiling Subversion from source, use GCC 4.0.x or later or build the Apache Portable Runtime (APR) with the --disable-nonportable-atomics option.

Subversion also loses the “contrib” repository with this release, but the tools and scripts previously shipped there are still available online. For the rest of the changes in 1.7 see the full release notes.

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