Subversion 1.1 Release Notes

(and State of the Project)

The Subversion book site has now been forked, and a separate Subversion 1.1 book documents most of the new 1.1 features. Still, here are some brief release notes.


Subversion 1.1 can best be summarized as: (1) an optional new non-database repository back-end, and (2) a whole slew of client-side improvements. Details are given below.

Note that Subversion 1.1 is a superset of all the Subversion 1.0.x releases. The 1.0.x releases contain nothing but critical bugfixes backported from the 1.1 development line. Subversion 1.1 introduces new features and fixes many smaller bugs.

Compatibility Concerns

Subversion's compatibility and version-numbering policy is documented here. Here's a quick summary:

New Major Features

Non-database repositories (new server feature)

It's now possible to create repositories that don't use a BerkeleyDB database. Instead, these new repositories store data in the ordinary filesystem. Because Subversion developers often refer to the repository as "The Filesystem", we have adopted the rather confusing habit of referring to these new repositories as "fsfs" repositories... that is, a Filesystem implementation that uses the OS filesystem to store data.

Note that the data files created by fsfs repositories are still in a binary format, and are not human editable!

Why would someone choose an fsfs repository over BerkeleyDB? The immediate and obvious advantages are the ability to access a repository over a network filesystem, and no more database "wedges" needing recovery. You can read the full list of advantages/disadvantages at

To create an fsfs repository, simply run 'svnadmin create --fs-type fsfs'. Or, if BerkeleyDB wasn't detected at compile time, 'svnadmin create' will default to type fsfs.

Client follows renames (new client feature)

Subversion makes a lot of noise about the way branches (copies) of files and directories maintain historical connections to their source, but in Subversion 1.0 only 'svn log' actually follows that history, not 'svn diff', 'svn merge', 'svn list', or 'svn cat'.

This problem (issue 1093) is now fixed in Subversion 1.1. All client subcommands now transparently trace backwards through renames when examining older versions of files and directories.

Command line auto-escaping of URI and IRIs (new client feature)

In the 1.0 command line client, users had to escape URLs manually. The client only accepted "legally correct" URLs, such as

  svn checkout http://host/path%20with%20space/project/espa%C3%B1a

The 1.1 command line client now knows how to do what web-browsers have been doing for long time: it auto-escapes characters like spaces and other upper-ASCII i18n characters.

  svn checkout "http://host/path with space/project/españa"

The definition of an Internationalized URI (IRI) is still a work in progress; see the draft spec.

Localized messages (new client feature)

Subversion 1.1 is now using gettext() to display translated error, informational, and help messages to the user. We currently have translations for German, Spanish, Polish, Swedish, Norwegian Bokmal, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Brazilian Portuguese, and we're looking for volunteers to write translations for other languages. To localize your Subversion client, just set your LANG environment variable:

       $ export LANG=de_DE
       $ svn help cat
       cat: Ausgabe des Inhaltes der angegebenen Dateien oder URLs
       Aufruf: cat ZIEL...

Other Improvements

Speed optimizations: (requires both new client and server)

Faster checkout, update, status, and blame commands.

Shareable working copies: (client fix)

There have been historical problems with permissions when multiple users share a working copy. We believe these problems to be fixed now, see issue #1509.

New 'store-passwords' runtime variable: (new client feature)

The previous store-auth-creds runtime variable still works, but many users were unhappy with it. It disables all credentials caching on local disk: passwords, usernames, server certs. This new runtime variable only disables password caching, so that server certificates can still be remembered.


More than 40 "small" bugs fixed. See the CHANGES file for details.

New subcommand switches:

svn blame --verbose
show extra annotation information
svn export --native-eol [LF | CRLF]
forcibly export 'svn:eol-style=native' files with a specific line ending, either LF or CRLF. Useful for releases (say, creating a win32 zipfile on unix.)
svn add --force
forcibly recurse into already-versioned directories. This allows users to svn add every unversioned object, even those hiding deep within a working copy.
svnadmin dump --deltas
Creates a smaller dumpfile by including compressed binary diffs, rather than fulltexts.
svnadmin create --fs-type [fsfs | bdb]
Create a repository using either 'fsfs' or 'bdb' backend, defaults is 'bdb'.
svnadmin recover [--wait]
This command now exits immediately if another process has a lock on the repository. Use the new --wait option to get the old behavior (where svnadmin blocks indefinitely until the lock is freed.)
svnserve --tunnel-user=NAME
Used in conjuction with --tunnel switch; tells svnserve to assume that NAME is the authenticated user, rather than the UID of the svnserve process. Useful for users wishing to share a single system account over SSH, but maintaining separate commit identities.
svndumpfilter --quiet
less chatty dumpfiltering.
svnserve --version
svnversion --version
svndumpfilter --version
display version of program.

Developer Changes

A number of new 1.1 functions have been introduced, with the "2" suffix, and the older versions are now marked deprecated (and will be removed in Subversion 2.0). For example, a new svn_wc_diff2() function has superseded svn_wc_diff(). See the CHANGES file for details.

There has been extensive work on the python, perl, and java bindings. More coverage, more functionality, and they're now fully integrated into the main Subversion build system (just run 'make swig-py' or 'make swig-pl' or 'make javahl').

Testimonials and Roadmap

See our roadmap for what the future looks like.

If you're looking for testimonials on Subversion, see our new testimonials page.

As usual, you can find links to other Subversion-related sites, projects, and essays on our links page.