Skip to content

Subversion on OS X Leopard Server

2008 January 3
by Nayan Hajratwala

I’ve found various links to Subversion setup on OS X Server, but most of them leverage a lot of manual file editing rather than using the built-in features of OS X Server. Additionally, they didn’t discuss integrating OS X OpenDirectory.

That said, here is how I got my subversion repository up and running with the built in Apache 2 and OpenDirectory.

Step 1 – Create a Subversion repository

Since Leopard already has Subversion (1.4.4 as of this post), no software installation is required.

svnadmin create /usr/local/svn_repository

We also need to ensure that the repository is editable by the webserver user.

chown -R www /usr/local/svn_repository

You can create additional directories based on your preferred strategy, but you don’t need to in order to complete this setup.

Step 2 – Configure the server via Server Admin

Enable Apache modules

  1. Click Web in the Sidebar
  2. Click Settings in the top bar
  3. Select the Modules tab
  4. Check the following modules:
    • authz_svn_module
    • dav_module
    • dav_fs_module
    • dav_svn_module

Enable WebDAV on your site

Upon reflection, you may be able to skip this step, but I haven’t gone back and undone my changes to try it again. In any case, it can’t hurt.

  1. Click Sites in the top bar
  2. Select your site
  3. Click the WebDAV checkbox

Create a Realm

This will set up the OpenDirectory based security. There are options for Kerberos and Digest as well, but I haven’t tried setting those up.

  1. Select the Realms tab
  2. Click “+” under the Realms box and enter the following:
    • Realm Name: svn_realm
    • Authentication: Basic
    • Location: /svn (Note: You have to change the dropdown)
  3. Click “+” under the Users & Groups box, and drag/drop the users/groups that you want to give access to. Also be sure to give them read/write privileges.

Click the Save button.

Step 3 – Tweak the config file

Note — I’m using virtual sites. I suppose it would be similar if you’re not.

I couldn’t find any “Apple-ish” way to do this, so this is the only bit you have to manually edit.

Edit the file under /etc/apache2/sites that corresponds to your site. This should be a file starting with 000x. In the <Location "/svn"> section, add the following two lines:

DAV svn
SVNPath /usr/local/svn_repository

Step 4 – Restart the web server

You can do this from Server Admin.

That’s  it.  You should be able to access your repository at – Please let me know if I’ve made any errors or omissions.