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SVN 1.5.3 and possible data loss

From: John Jones <john_at_managingwork.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 10:33:17 +0100

I have recently joined a project where a developer has appeared to
overwrite a prior release, resulting in lost data. It *appears* to
have happened twice, and had significant impact which is enough to
cause management to question the integrity of svn. Having been a user
and a pm on a number of projects using svn I cannot remember ever
seeing or experiencing anything like it.

The lost data is in a large file, with lots of chang history, where
two developers were working concurrently but in non overlapping areas.
Each developer's work flow for the commits involved indicates no
reason to be working in the affected areas. ie a no conflicts were
likely. But looking directly at the two commits it does look like the
second developer didn't update but still was able to commit his file
without the previous changes being merged. Both times the data loss
occurred when the same developer committed and appeared to overwrite
the previous commit. In tests we have not been able to replicate the

The only smoking gun we can find is the developer in question joined
the company five days after SVN 1.5.3 was released, installed this on
his Mac and has been using it all along. Looking more closely at the
releases we noticed 1.5.3 was pulled/quickly replaced with 1.5.4. The
repo is running 1.4.6 and every other developer is running a different
client version.

So the looming question for us is: Have we really found the smoking
gun in 1.5.3? Can anyone advise us about the buggy nature of 1.5.3 and
its potential to create the outcome described?

Many Thanks


John Jones
UK: (+44) (0)797 644-3043

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle
them, and pretty soon you have a dozen."
John Steinbeck


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Received on 2009-08-12 11:36:07 CEST

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