Cygwin and SVN—friends at last


I’m kind of a CLI junky. Ironically, I prefer command line over GUI for its simplicity (that and I haven’t found a pointing device I care to use). In a Windows world, short of setting up an ssh server, this pretty much leaves me with Cygwin or PuTTYcyg (no, cmd.exe doesn’t count for anything).

The problem

When we upgraded to Subversion 1.5 (and now 1.6), I started running into problems with the new interactive conflict management. I prefer not to use it, but occasionally forget to add the --non-interactive flag to my commands.

The Dos emulator handled this just fine, but Cygwin would lock up. With PuTTYcyg, I can ctrl-C to at least get my prompt back. Then I have to svn cleanup. Sometimes this can bork your svn meta data beyond what ‘cleanup’ can fix. There are few things more frustrating than spending good development time on fixing your development environment.

The Solution

It turns out, you can disable interactive-conflicts by default by modifying your Subversion client’s config file. On Windows, this is %APPDATA%\Subversion\config (“$APPDATA/Subversion/config” for PuTTYcyg users).

Because I started with svn 1.1, the commented options in my config were outdated so I did the following to get a fresh one:

rm "$APPDATA/Subversion/config"
svn --version

Any subversion command will (re-)create a default config file.
Finally, I just uncommented the following line:

# interactive-conflicts = no

Now I can run SVN in my CLI of choice with no worries of losing time to repairing my local code check-out.

UPDATE: svn/cygwin now happily interactive

A colleague of mine suggested simply installing svn through the cygwin package management (i.e. re-run cygwin’s setup.exe). After doing so, I can interact with svn through local puttcyg just as I would through normal ssh. (Among other things, I no longer have to worry about my credentials being echoed when svn prompts me for authentication!)


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