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This doc serves to explain howto add subversion and DAV support to Apache2.

For information on how to use the subversion CLI client and server, see Subversion.

Compile Apache without the worker MPM

There is a suspected conflict between large changeset check-ins and the Apache "worker" MPM. The recommended work-around is to compile Apache with the "prefork" MPM. To do so, first add or modify (in the case of an existing entry) a line in make.conf:

File: /etc/make.conf

Then rebuild and reinstall Apache: emerge -aDNtuv apache

Why not just emerge --ask  ?

Furthermore, please ensure that subversion is merged with the apache2 and without the nowebdav useflag.

Enabling DAV and SVN

Define the use of the DAV and SVN modules for apache2 at startup. For authentication, you'll also probably want SSL. Add this line beneath the existing APACHE2_OPTS line.

File: /etc/conf.d/apache2
                -D DAV -D DAV_FS -D SSL -D SSL_DEFAULT_VHOST"

Creating repositories for apache

Apache needs rw access to the repository directory. This can be achieved in two ways.

Initial configuration

File /etc/apache2/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf is shipped with subversion (if apache2 use flag is enabled) and gives an almost working configuration.

<Location /svn>
DAV svn

instructs apache to handle all requests whose URL path part begins with /svn via DAV provider (Dav svn line).

If you want to support only one repository you set path for the repository using

SVNPath /var/svn/repos

However it is more convenient to have multiple repositories supported

SVNParentPath /var/svn

Now all items under SVNParentPath directive are treated as subversion repositories. If you want to see the list of repositories you should set the SVNListParentPath to on (NOTE: This directive is only available for subversion version 1.3 and higher)

SVNListParentPath on

Note: If using SVNListParentPath you might get 403 errors as described here. A possible workaround is to change the location to include a trailing slash

<Location /svn/>

If you use the trailing slash, you might want to add

RedirectMatch ^(/svn)$ $1/

to your /etc/apache2/httpd.conf settings.

To prevent problems like Resource cannot be created at the destination..., it may also be helpful to add:

 SVNAutoVersioning On



Ok, now we should have apache with subversion working. However anyone can access repository now and probably this is not what we expected.
Following lines in /etc/apache2/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf (old style configuration: /etc/apache2/conf/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf) enable authentication

File: /etc/apache2/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Subversion repository"
AuthUserFile /var/svn/conf/svnusers
Require valid-user

Authtype Basic sends password almost in plaintext and is not secure. To prevent this, you need to enable access only through ssl using the directive


NOTE: You will have to have SSL enabled in order for this directive to work. To enable SSL, define the use of SSL for apache2 at startup as noted above.

ALTERNATIVE: You can also redirect HTTP access to HTTPS by adding the following lines:

File: /etc/apache2/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf
 <Location /svn>
 	RewriteEngine On
 	RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !on
 	RewriteRule ^/(.*) https://%{SERVER_NAME}%{REQUEST_URI} [R]

OPTIONAL: In order to restrict access to only SSL it's not enough to add SSLRequireSSL to 47_mod_dav_svn.conf. Each configuration directive from 47_mod_dav_svn.conf must be moved inside the virtual host directive for XX_mod_ssl_default-vhost.conf. You also need to change the number of the file so that it loads after mod_dav (all the files in /etc/apache2/conf/modules.d are loaded alphabetic order).

SSL-ONLY: Instead of moving the content of 47_mod_dav_svn.conf to inside the SSL vhost, you can just include the file there. Since the default apache config loads modules.d/*.conf, rename: 47_mod_dav_svn.conf to: 47_mod_dav_svn.ssl-conf Then, inside of your SSL vhost, add this at the bottom (while still inside the </If...> tags of course):

 # Load SSL only modules (like SVN)
 Include /etc/apache2/modules.d/*.ssl-conf

READONLY: We may want anthenticate users to allow them to commit in your subversion, and also allow any anomymous request have at least read rights. So for any write subversion method, a valid user will be required :

 AuthType Basic
 # For any operations other than these, require an authenticated user.
   Require valid-user

If you change to only SSL you need to add this line to XX_mod_ssl_default-vhost.conf in order to make it work. see (

 BrowserMatch "SVN" redirect-carefully

File /var/svn/conf/svnusers contains username and encrypted password pairs.

To add user and password do it with htpasswd2 command.

First you need to create user-password storage file

htpasswd2 -c /var/svn/conf/svnusers newuser1

and then add other users

htpasswd2 /var/svn/conf/svnusers newuser2

PAM Based

If managing two separate password files is too tedious for you, try using mod_auth_pam, which uses PAM to handle authentication. If you haven't already, emerge mod_auth_pam.

Note: Be aware that by using mod_auth_pam has security implications; the 'apache' user will have read access to /etc/shadow. It's possible that if apache were compromised, /etc/shadow could be read, and a password-cracking program employed against it.

After emerging mod_auth_pam, it's necessary to make a few changes (as root) to your configuration files. For starters, apache needs to be able to read from /etc/shadow:

# groupadd shadow
# gpasswd -a apache shadow
# chgrp shadow /etc/shadow
# chmod g+r /etc/shadow

Note: Pay attention! If you have a webserver and you run it with the same apache these settings potentially let your users read the shadow passwords file and it is really dangerous.

Next, edit the following:

File: /etc/apache2/conf/modules.d/47_mod_dav_svn.conf

Within the <location /svn> tag, add:

<IfModule mod_auth_sys_group.c>
AuthPAM_Enabled on
AuthType Basic
AuthName "Subversion Repository"
Require group subversion

Note: Unlike the 'basic' configuration above, make sure you don't have the line

AuthUserFile /var/svn/conf/svnusers

It is possible to fall back to the 'basic' authentication listed above should PAM somehow fail; look in /etc/apache2/modules.d/10_mod_auth_pam.conf for details.

Note: Authtype Basic sends password almost in plaintext and is not secure. To prevent this, you need to enable access only through ssl using the directive


You'll also want to activate mod_auth_pam:

File: /etc/conf.d/apache2





If basic authentication is not enough for you, you can enhance basic authentication by means of access control lists. Notice that you have done authentication already and are now going to allow/restrict access on a per user bases. This is done by a special file. The SVNAccessFile:

AuthzSVNAccessFile /var/svn/conf/svnpolicy

Above directive enables the ACL for accessing subversion repositories with apache.
You can define authorization rules in this file in form of [repos-name:path] sections and pairs of user names and access rights options, which can be r, w or empty. For example:

testuser1 = rw
testuser2 = 
* = r

allows testuser1 to write to the repository (commit, copy, ...), testuser2 has no access to repository, whereas any other user (wildcard *) can read repository (checkout).
In order for the AuthzSVNAccessFile directive to work, you will need to enable it in /etc/conf.d/apache2:


A few notes on setting access policies. Watch spacing - if you're using a single repository, or even if you're not, nothing in the brackets should have any spacing. For a single repository, you don't need to set the repository name - just the path relative to the SVNPath directive. For example:

* = r
* = 

There can be spacing on the permissions files, just not in the brackets for the file directories.

Active Directory/LDAP

Follow these directions if you would like to get your SVN site to authenticate via LDAP or Active Directory.

In /etc/conf.d/apache2 add -D LDAP and -D AUTH_LDAP


and here's my working apache config for Active Directory: (you'll have to modify your ldap search path for your directory)

<IfDefine SVN>
<Location /svn/repo>
DAV svn
SVNPath /var/svn/repo
AuthType Basic
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
order allow,deny
allow from all
AuthName "Authorize Me"
AuthBasicProvider ldap
AuthLDAPBindDN "CN=webuser,OU=Resources,OU=Corporate,OU=AOM,DC=domain,DC=com"
AuthLDAPBindPassword xxxxxxxxxxx
Require valid-user

To enable only specific user access:

<Location "/useraccess">
AuthName "user permissions"
require user larry bill sam

For group-level permissions, stick this in the directory block:

<Location "/group">
AuthName "group permissions"
require group cn=Group,cn=Users,dc=domainname,dc=com

If you're having problems building your LDAP queries, run this command on your Windows global catalog server:

ldifde -f mydomain.ldif -s

It will dump the entire ldap directory to a file.

If your Active Directory queries aren't working, you may have more than one tree in your directory. Apache has trouble searching across a 'forest'. AD has a 'global catalog' that is an index of the entire directory, made for looking up objects. It doesn't have all the attributes, but is a good way to deal with multiple trees. The global catalog is set up by default on port 3268 (vs 389), use this port in AuthLDAPUrl and otherwise query the same way.

AuthLDAPURL "ldap://,DC=com?sAMAccountName?sub?(objectClass=*)"

More information from Microsoft:

Pretty formatting

You can browse latest revision your repository using your favourite browser. Unfortunately you will notice that it does not look very nice. To change this add

SVNIndexXSLT /svnindex.xsl

directive inside <Location /svn> tag and provide xml stylesheet for transformations. If you are not very familiar with xml, decompress the xsl and css files shipped with subversion in /usr/share/doc/subversion-<VERSION>/ directory.

Some browsers (notably Opera) will just show a blank page instead of the XSL. You can get around this by preprocessing the XSL through xsltproc, rendering the XSL into html for non-XSL-enabled browsers. To do this, install xsltproc:

emerge libxslt

And then add the following to your apache2 config:

BrowserMatch "Opera" xsltfilter 

ExtFilterDefine xslt mode=output enableenv=xsltfilter \ 
        intype=text/xml outtype=text/html \ 
        cmd="/usr/bin/xsltproc /var/www/svnindex.xsl -" 

Additionally, add the following directives inside the <Location /svn> tag:

SetOutputFilter xslt 
AddDefaultCharset utf-8


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Last modified: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 23:52:00 +0000 Hits: 93,543