If you've spent enough time around Linux you might have come across an installation process that requires the use of SVN. SVN is subversion which is a version control system based on CVS. What this means is that this tool manages files and directories and keeps track of the changes made to them. A lot of developers use tools like this in order to allow testers and other developers access to the most recent versions of their software. In effect, installing from subversion always guarantees you are installing the most recent code base for your application.
But subversion isn't always the easiest tool for the end user to get up to speed with. So, with the end user in mind, this article will attempt to explain how subversion can be used in the process of installing software on the Linux operating system.
When is subversion the right tool to use?
This is a fairly tricky question. There are two obvious reasons to use subversion:
Keeping archives of older versions: By nature, subversion is a version control system, so it handles this task perfectly.
Collaboration: If you are working on the development of an application with more than one person, then subversion is perfect for you as well. Using subversion this way allows developers to check out code, work on it, and check it back in.
And of course, you can use subversion to check out the latest version of code and then install said latest version.
How it all works
The first step in this is to install subversion itself. This is simple, as subversion will be found in your standard repository. To install open up a terminal window and issue the command:
sudo apt-get install subversion
or on Fedora like so:
yum install subversion
Once the software is installed you are ready to go.
Let's assume you are wanting to check out the latest version of a piece of software. Let's illustrate this with the Enlightenment E17 window manager/desktop environment. Now, as this is a fairly complex package, there are dependencies that must be resolved. Those dependencies can be resolved using your regular installation tool (like yum or apt-get). Those dependencies are:
You might also want these optional dependencies:
Once you have all the dependencies met, you can then proceed with the subversion installation.
The first thing you have to do is check out and install all of the dependencies (that can not be installed via the normal means). These are all done using the subversion svn command. The basic usage of the command is:
svn co ADDRESS
Where ADDRESS is the actual link to the CVS repository. NOTE: co stands for check out. Now we are going to check out all of the dependencies and then install them all from CVS. to do this, issue the following commands (one at a time):
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/eina eina-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/eet eet-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/evas evas-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/ecore ecore-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/efreet efreet-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/embryo embryo-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/edje edje-svn
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/e_dbus e_dbus-svn
Each of the above commands will create a new directory. For example the first command will create the directory eina-svn within the directory from which the command is run. You will need to cd into each of these directories (one at a time of course) and then issue the following commands:
sudo make install
After you have done this for all of the dependencies it's time to check out and install the main software. This is done with the following:
svn co http://svn.enlightenment.org/svn/e/trunk/e e17-svn
Now it's time to install. Change into the newly created e17-svn folder and issue the following commands:
sudo make install
After a fairly lengthy time, Enlightenment E17 should then be installed on your machine. You should now be able to log out and log back in with E17.
Installing with the help of subversion is actually quite a nice way of keeping on the bleeding edge of your software. And some software, like E17, can only be installed (on certain distributions) in this manner. I hope this has helped you to understand how useful and how easy subversion can be.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.