As most of you here have noticed the subject
about hiding the .svn folder on windows comes
up about every few months. So I looked through
the whole mailing list archive to find all mails
about this subject. Below is the summary of
what I found so far. I haven't included those
threads that just were answered with "discussed
before please check the archives" but only
those with a real discussion and with
The first thread I found was started here:
Date: september 2002
The thread was started by Barry Scott 'cause he found it
annoying that commands found files in the .svn dir instead
of just ignoring them. That was followed by concerns of
*NIX users that users on windows usually don't know
about the hidden flag. Then Barry Scott mentioned a list of
cases which he wanted to solve until setting the hidden
attribute is good:
1. SVN works
2. Copying the work space with explorer must copy the hidden files
3. MSDEV "Find in Files" skips hidden files
4. DIR /S <filename> does not find files in .svn
5. Barry's Emacs does not find files in .svn
the following discussion never got to a real decision
about the case.
Then in january 2003 the next thread started:
The thread almost ended with "check the mailing list, decision has already been made"
but then Damon Rand also couldn't find a real decision and changed the
list from Barry Scott (see above) to:
1. SVN works.
2. Copying with explorer must copy hidden .svn folders.
3. Explorer "search for files and folders" must not show files in .svn
4. Behaviour must be user overrideable allowing access to .svn folders for advanced users
5. Emacs, MSDEV, Dreamweaver, DOS, Eclipse, and the other myriad of windows
applications with built in "find in files" commands must not operate worse than now
He found that all points in the list are good. He mentioned also that there could
be problems if the .svn folder was _not_ hidden:
Then at the end of january there was a decision to put that issue post-1.0.
The next discussion just started (and is still going on):
It was started by Hontvari Jozsef as a reply to an old message from Barry Scott.
Summary so far:
1. it's hidden on *NIX, wo it also should be on windows
2. it's a folder of which the "normal" user shouldn't care
about and though not see it
3. new versions of CVS do it too
4. the folder is considered "optical spam" in explorer
5. most programs (at least the newer ones) respect
the hidden attribute and exclude those from "find"
commands and the like
6. if someone still wants to see the folder, there's an
option in the explorer.
7. even the autocomplete feature (turned on by default in XP)
shows the .svn folder - this is annoying
1. some programs don't respect the hidden attribute and
show the .svn folder and the contents of it for "find"
2. there's no "fast" way to switch the explorer option
to show/hide the hidden folders.
3. if deleting a working copy folder (with a hidden .svn
folder in it) explorer asks "The file 'dir-prop-base' is
a read-only file. Are you sure you want to delete it?"
This might confuse unexperienced users since
they don't know anything about that file (it's hidden).
4. if you don't have a GUI program installed like TortoiseSVN
you'll have no indication that a folder is under version control
5. hiding the .svn folder will cause problems for novice users
(but nothing mentioned about _what_ problems)
Now I'd like to express my opinion about the whole case:
There are a _lot_ of windows users who request this feature.
The concerns listed above (I hope I didn't miss one) don't
make much of a reason to leave the .svn folder not hidden.
Contra 1: sure, some programs don't respect the hidden
folders. But they won't work any different than
they do now with the not hidden folder.
Contra 2: that's a comparison between apple and banana,
i.e. between command line and GUI: I guess even
under Linux (KDE, Gnome) there's no "fast" way
in their file-system-browser to switch between
showing/hiding such folders.
Contra 3: this is the only "real" reason I found so far. But
the windows-explorer asks such questions for
many other files too (e.g. executables, "system" files, ...).
Also, windows itself hides some files (try listening to
your mp3 files with the media-player and you end
up with hidden picture files of the CD-covers of your music).
My experience with such situations (office with 30 people,
most of them _very_ unexperienced with computers):
- about 30% just hit "YES" because they know that
they want to delete the folder, no matter what "garbage"
is in there.
- 10% stop the delete, rename the folder and wait a week
or so. If no program they use ever claims a missing
file they go on with the delete
- the rest comes asking what they should do. I explain
them once and that's it - the next time they know what
Contra 4: Do you have any indication of such directories/files under
*NIX? I guess not.
Contra 5: Since there were no actual problems mentioned I guess
this isn't a real contra point.
Received on Fri May 23 19:11:09 2003