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design problem (bug): cannot check out a 'private' directory in a repos

From: Mathias Kende <mathias_at_kende.fr>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 15:24:54 +0200


This is a report of something that is not really a bug (because the
software behave as expected), but is a design problem of the new 1.5
keywords ($anonymous and &authenticated) for the authz file of svnserve.
Which prevent to check out a repository with a private directory.

The problem is that if a directory is readable by anybody but not one of
its subdirectory then you can't check out the subdirectory.

Step to reproduce :

At the root of your svnserve create a new repos :
svnadmin create test
Uncomment one user in passwd (e.g. harry=harryssecret) and add the
passwd file in the svnserve.conf file, wich is now :
anon-access = read
auth-access = write
password-db = passwd

Then, import some files into it :
svn co svn://localhost/test
cd test
mkdir public
mkdir private
touch public/foo
touch private/bar
svn add public private
svn ci

Add "authz-db = authz" in svnserve.conf and modify the authz file to
something like :

$anonymous = r
$authenticated = rw
$anonymous =

And now, we try to check out some fresh copy of the repos.
svn co svn://localhost/test
svn co --username harry --password harryssecret svn://localhost/test
These two commands have the same result : only the "public" directory is
checked out.

My problem is that I know no proper way the check out the entire

The reason is that svnserve sees that no password is needed to read '/'
so the password is not used (I don't know if the authentication is
done), and the "private" directory can not be checked out.

The solution is to c/o separately the other directory :
cd test
svn co svn://localhost/test/private
Which will ask for the password if it has not been given in the previous
step, and then, you need to modify "test/.svn/entries" and remove all
the blank lines and the "absent" keyword under the name of the "private"
directory for it to be recognised as part of the repos. But this is
something that should not be done I suppose.

The solution I see to this problem is that when svn sends a credential,
svnserve should use it to authenticate the user even if it not needed,
or, even better, when the checkout occurs, the server should ask for a
password if some sub-directories need authentication (this is not a
security issue I believe because in any case the name of the "private"
directory is transmitted to the client as it is in the .svn/entries

I hope that I was clear enough,


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Received on 2008-09-22 15:25:14 CEST

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