Using Subversion

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Anonymous GNUstep SVN Checkout

Simply run:

svn co

You cannot use SVN+SSH unless you are a developer, and have a username and SSH public key registered at See below for more details. You cannot check out /devmodules unless you are a developer. /modules is the same as /devmodules, except the SVN external references work for anonymous SVN checkouts.

Developer GNUstep SVN Checkout

Simply run:

svn co svn+ssh://

Setting up Subversion for Developer Use

The first thing you will want to do is setup the ssh access to If you cannot type

svn list svn+ssh://

without having to type a password or in some way change the above command, read below.

If you have a different username on your system than on

To get around this problem, you can setup per host SSH settings. To do this, open ~/.ssh/config and at the end add the lines

      User aeruder

This makes it so that everytime I connect to with SSH, it will automatically use the username aeruder instead of my unix username.

If you are prompted for a private key password

This will look something like:

Enter passphrase for key '/home/andy/.ssh/id_dsa': 

To get around this you can either setup ssh-agent to cache this password or you can simply turn off the password on your private key. To do the latter, simply type:

ssh-keygen -t dsa -p

and follow the prompts, and when it prompts for a new passphrase, simply hit enter.

Windows notes

In theory you should be able to check out a developer copy of GNUstep using TortiseSVN along with pagent (part of PuTTY) - however, no matter what I tried, TortiseSVN won't stop asking for my private key password.

Instead I installed openssh using cygwin, and set it us as described above. This works well, the only annoyance is you have to keep a cygwin shell open for doing svn operations.

Some background on repository layout

To familiarize yourself with the layout, I would recommend looking at the web-access to svn for GNUstep. You will notice that every project is in its own portion of the repository. For example:




This layout is very handy for having a per-project repository. I can easily branch or tag just /libs/gui and it all stays in its own namespace. However, what this DOES mean is that you cannot simply checkout /libs/gui or you will end up with several copies of the source. To get around this, we are using a nifty feature of Subversion called externals. Externals are metadata on a directory that basically tell the svn client to checkout some other url into a subdirectory when it is checked out. So if I type:

svn proplist -v svn+ssh://

It will tell me that the svn:externals property contains:

gui     svn+ssh://
back    svn+ssh://
base    svn+ssh://
make    svn+ssh://

So everytime I checkout /devmodules/core the svn client will automatically go to these URLs and check them out into subdirectories. When I make changes in gui/ and commit them, it will really commit to /libs/gui/trunk. For the most part if you checkout /devmodules, the externals have already been setup such that it will checkout something similar to checking out the whole repository before.

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