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Subversion is brittle in an annoying way

From: Eric S. Raymond <esr_at_snark.thyrsus.com>
Date: 2004-09-18 15:33:09 CEST

A pattern I'm seeing that is beginning to bother me is that Subversion
is very pleasant to use when everything is working perfectly, but an
impenetrable stone bitch when anything goes the least bit wrong.

The botch in svnadmin recover about which I previously raised hell
was one case in point. Here is another:

esr_at_snark:~/svn/gpsd$ svn diff -r307:308 http://svn.berlios.de/svnroot/repos/gpsd/trunk/
svn: PROPFIND request failed on '/'
svn: PROPFIND of '/': 200 OK (http://svn.berlios.de)
esr@snark:~/svn/gpsd$ ssh svn.berlios.de
Last login: Fri Sep 17 22:42:09 2004 from dsl092-053-140.phl1.dsl.speakeasy.net
                BerliOS CVS / SVN Server
Welcome to your BerliOS account
  The project CVS repository can be found at:
  The project Subversion (SVN) repository can be found at:
  where <projectname> is the unix name of your project.
Have a lot of fun...
esr@sheep:~> cd /svnroot/repos/gpsd
esr@sheep:/svnroot/repos/gpsd> ls
conf dav db format hooks locks README.txt SNAPSHOT

What is one supposed to do with this? The message is cryptic, there
is nothing in the book, nothing in the FAQ, and no obvious reason
for the command to have failed since there is in fact a repository
at that URL.

I don't just want the symptom fixed for me, I want the error message
fixed so that future users will know how to recover from this error.

		Eric S. Raymond
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may
be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons
than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may
sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those
who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they
do so with the approval of their consciences.
	-- C. S. Lewis
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Received on Sat Sep 18 15:33:23 2004

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