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Source Code Repositories at Apache

Apache project contributors are in countries all around the world. To help them work together, projects keep their source code in an Internet-accessible revision control system, either Subversion (SVN) or Git. Apache committers have write access to the repositories for their projects, so they can edit existing code and add new files.


In general

Everyone has *read access* to the repositories and can download the most up-to-date development version of any project's software to review or compile.
  • If you want a stable release of the source code, download it from the distribution directory.
  • Only download the code directly from your project's code repository if you are participating in the development effort. The latest version of the code is what your colleagues have most recently checked in, and they may or may not have confirmed that it compiles correctly and does what they want it to do.
  • If you want a release version of the project's compiled application, visit the project's website and find its download page. It may offer both stable releases and "bleeding-edge" or "nightly" builds that compile properly but include the latest, possibly-unstable, features.

Git repositories

How-to guides, documentation, and a list of projects using Git for revision control are at git.apache.org.

Many Git users manage their source code through one of these tools:

Some projects began using read-only-mirrors of SVN repositories when Apache's support for Git was limited. This is no longer necessary. Writable Git repositories are available to all projects.

Creating repositories

Apache projects can have as many public Git repositories as their product development work requires. Use the Self Serve tool to create an additional repository.

Some projects require a private Git repository, for reasons like:

  • Developing security patches.
  • Preparing the quarterly Bzoard reports when it is necessary to include information in a <private> section of the report.
  • Maintaining the details of legal contracts, Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and similar arrangements with third parties. PMCs can enter into such arrangements if they are directly required for the development of the project's product or products.
  • Keeping information that should not be public.

Each PMC can have one private Git repository. Open a Jira ticket for Infra to request one, explaining the reasons the project needs it.

.asf.yaml for Git repositories

.asf.yaml is a branch-specific file. Projects hosting their websites in a Git repository must use .asf.yaml to build and update their sites. Review this guidance.

Projects can also place .asf.yaml in the root of a repository to control:

  • notification settings
  • github settings
  • pelican builds

Read the .asf.yaml primer to learn more.

SVN repositories

Information about SVN is at the Apache SVN site and Version Control with Subversion. The website provides links for SVN clients you can download and install to make it easier to work with SVN.

To browse the repositories or download a few individual files, you can

Command-line SVN access

You can check out a project repository anonymously once you have installed a SVN client. For example, to get the Spamassassin module, use:

 `$ svn checkout http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/spamassassin/trunk spamassassin`

Committing code through the command line

If you are a project committer and don't want to use a SVN client like Tortoise, you can commit your new and updated files using the command line. We use HTTPS basic authentication, so you need to specify your user name and password as part of the check-in command.

For example, if you wanted to add the file 'test.txt', you might follow these steps:

$ cd excalibur-trunk
$ echo "test" > test.txt
$ svn add test.txt
$ svn commit --username your-name --password your-password \
  --message "Trying out svn"

Apache does not support svnserve or svn+ssh.

Configuring the SVN client

Committers need to properly configure their svn client. One particular issue is OS-specific line-endings for text files. When you add a new text file, especially when applying patches from Bugzilla, make sure that the line-endings are appropriate for your system, then do (for test.txt)

svn add test.txt svn propset svn:eol-style native test.txt

You can configure your svn client to do that automatically for some common file types. Add the contents of this file to the bottom of your ~/.subversion/config file, normally found at:

  • Windows: C:\Documents and Settings{username}\Application Data\Subversion\config
  • Windows 7: C:\Users{username}\AppData\Roaming\Subversion\config]
  • Linux & Mac OSX: ~/.subversion/config or /etc/subversion/config

You may need to set additional properties for some files. For example, apply svn:executable=* to script files (e.g. .bat, .cgi, .cmd, .sh) that are intended to be executed. Since not all such files are intended to be executed, do not make the executable property an automatic default.

Pay attention to the messages from your svn client when you do 'svn commit'.

Tip: If you use TortoiseSVN, a popular Windows GUI client that integrates with Windows Explorer, you can right click in Explorer and select TortoiseSVN - Settings, and then press the "Edit" button to update your "Subversion configuration file:". If you do not see

 `*.c = svn:eol-style=native`

copy the above svn-eol-style.txt file's contents into the end of the config editor that appears, and save the file.

SVN SSL server certificate

You can check the validity of the server certificate on the Apache host keys listing.

Typical SVN error messages

Error validating server certificate

 - The certificate is not issued by a trusted authority. Use the
   fingerprint to validate the certificate manually!
Certificate information:
 - Hostname: *.apache.org
 - Valid: from Apr 20 00:00:00 2017 GMT until July 20 23:59:59 2019 GMT
 - Issuer: SSL.com
 - SHA-1 Fingerprint 2D:97:67:D9:2E:20:EE:07:3D:26:DA:97:A6:43:36:5F:71:8E:94:19
(R)eject, accept (t)emporarily or accept (p)ermanently?

Check the fingerprint against the list at the link above for server certificates.

No such revision

If you get an error like

svn: No such revision 765287

This may be because of a short lag in the synchronization between Subversion mirrors, and can occur if multiple commits run in quick succession. This error usually happens if you are located in Europe, or are explicitly using the European mirror.

Wait for 10 seconds and repeat the command, and you should have success.

Note that this error can also occur when running mvn release:prepare. The mvn release plugin has a special property to handle this situation: waitBeforeTagging.

Not the latest baseline

If you get an error like this:

svn: The specified baseline is not the latest baseline, so it may not be
checked out.

This may be because of a short lag in the synchronization between Subversion mirrors, and can occur if multiple commits run in quick succession. This error usually happens if you are located in Europe, or are explicitly using the European mirror.

Wait for 10 seconds and repeat the command, and you should have success.

Problems using date revisions

If you are using a date revision such as -r{2004-09-12}:{2004-08-12} and not getting any or all of the revisions you expected, this is a known problem specific to the ASF repository.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to improve this situation, so you must use a workaround. You can use svn log or ViewVC to locate the actual revision number that is first after the date you desire, and substitute that into your -r argument to the svn command.

For example, consider the desired command:

$ svn diff -rHEAD:{2005-01-01}

While this produces no results, running svn log alone produces a result like this:

r124032 | aheritier | 2005-01-04 09:58:16 +1100 (Tue, 04 Jan 2005) | 1 line

Switch to subversion
r123911 | brett | 2005-01-03 09:48:57 +1100 (Mon, 03 Jan 2005) | 1 line

remove nagoya references
r116173 | brett | 2004-10-23 22:11:51 +1000 (Sat, 23 Oct 2004) | 2 lines

remove old requires descriptions

So try the command:

$ svn diff -rHEAD:123911

This problem crops up because the order of the revisions is not identical to the order of dates in the repository. This is a side effect of loading CVS repositories with history including dates prior to the earliest date in the Subversion repository.


  • When should I use svn lock? Very rarely. Commits in subversion are transactional. This means that locks are almost always unnecessary. An oft-quoted use case is to prevent concurrent editing of a large, unmergeable binary document. However, for open development, good communication is preferable to locking even in this use case. A good, timely post to the list to let your fellow developers know that you're going to start editing that huge PDF is better than locking the file.
  • How often can I run a cron job that connects to the repository? Hourly is fine. Please do not use programs that poll the repository more frequently than hourly. People who run automated scripts that continuously poll the repository wind up getting their access denied, and that may impact other folks connecting through the same host. If you need to stay more in-sync than an hourly cron allows, subscribe your script to the relevant commit mailing list.
  • How do I mirror the whole SVN repository for an experiment? First, ask yourself whether you really want the entire ASF repository Most people really want only a single project. In that case, just check out that source directory from the repo. If you really do want the entire ASF repository, don't use svnsync. Instead, start by looking here. Use that to bootstrap your repo.
  • Why do I get a 403 error when I try to commit code? Run svn info and check that the URL starts with https://. If it starts with http://, run:

$ svn switch --relocate http://svn.apache.org https://svn.apache.org

If you still get 403 Forbidden errors, ask your PMC to double-check the authz file and LDAP/Unix group membership.

Migrating an SVN code repository to Git

Instructions are here.

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