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Apache-WebSVN process needs /root/.subversion access?

From: Matt England <mengland_at_mengland.net>
Date: 2005-10-10 16:21:50 CEST


I had a running, Subversion system through svnserve and WebSVN. Today (and
presumably yesterday) the WebSVN system started to break--it wouldn't list
files in the repos.

I found in my Apache logs these errors that seem to correspond to the
WebSVN failures:

svn: Can't check path '/root/.subversion': Permission denied

When I give my Apache process (nobody) access to read this
/root/.subversion directory (something I don't like to do), things seem to
be working fine again.

My basic questions:

I see that .subversion has something to do with cacheing authentication (I
think...as per
). Why can a svn client not operate in all conditions without this
directory (or presumably so)?

What happens when a process attempts to 'svn export' (as in WebSVN) and has
no ~/.subversion directory (as in Apache's "nobody" account)?

Why would my 'nobody' account possibly be trying to access
/root/.subversion? Possibly because it's a httpd-started process?

Fyi: My system specs:
No Apache modules (only svnserve and local-repo access)

Any ideas on why I would have an operational system for some time and then
it starts breaking? I suspect you may not be able to give specifics; I'm
just looking for potential pointers. There were some recent system
changes: I did move some dirs around in my web server *and* there was a
kernel change from my VPS (virtual private server) host-system
provider. So, yes, it seems like some external event (like these) may have
contributed to this problem. I'm hoping answers to the above 2 questions
can help sort these things out.

I'm sure this is a faq, but I have yet to find a definitive resource for
answering this question. Further, this symptom probably has many different
root-cause problems associated with it, making it difficult if not
impossible to make a 1-to-1 symptom-to-cause diagnosis without further info.

Thanks for any help,

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Received on Mon Oct 10 16:24:05 2005

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