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Subversion

SVNThe Subversion Open Source Project.

Subversion is a multi-platform, open-source application which endeavours to be a "compelling replacement for CVS in the open source community." With Subversion's version control system, no data is lost when files are overwritten. Subversion is a time-machine, allowing anyone to travel back in time to view the repository in an earlier state. If the hypothetical critical application is upgraded by any one user, anyone can obtain the previous version of the file by accessing the repository during the revision before the upgrade took place. In addition, detailed logging of every change and all additions to the repository makes the process even easier.

All of these wonderful attributes aside, it would soon be discovered that setting up a Subversion server which satisfies all of the department's requirements would be a long and complicated process. After a great deal of experimentation and testing, I had a small Subversion repository running with a lightweight standalone server (svnserve) which allowed anonymous access from other computers on the intranet network.

To start the svn server, just run this on the command-line:
svnserve -d /path/to/repositories/

Now, access repositories through the Subversion client:
svn status svn://repositoryname/path/

One of the chief advantages of Subversion over the old FTP server was user-level access control. This advantage was yet to be realised because svnserve did not have the capability of managing user credentials in the degree that was required by the IPST team.

Apache

HTTPDThe Apache HTTPD Open Source Project.

Apache is the most popular software utility to allow servers to host web content on the internet. I was successfully able to host a few dummy pages on a server with a newly installed and configured web server. Subversion comes pre-packaged with a set of libraries and utilities which are designed to work with the Apache Web Server. In order to make Apache extend Subversion, I made the following changes/additions to the httpd.conf file (abridged):

First, load the svn extension module:
LoadModule dav_svn_module modules/mod_dav_svn.so

Next, specify the location where your Subversion repositories are located:
[Location /svn]
  DAV svn
  SVNParentPath /path/to/repositories/
[/Location]

Finally, you can now access your repositories through the client OR any web browser on the network:
http://hostname/svn/repositoryname/path/

The web browser will allow anonymous read access to the repositories, in it's current state only. As in, previous revisions of files are not accessible (yet).

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