Setting up SVN on OSX Leopard

When I got my new Macbook, I knew that I wanted to setup a better system to control all of the source code on my computer. I have websites and applications for clients, Lowter, etc. Basically, I have a lot of code that was only loosely organised on my old iMac. On my iMac, I had everything organised nicely into folders, but that was about it. I had CVS setup, as it was built into OSX Tiger, but I did not make much use of it because it was too complex.

I found out that SVN is built into OSX Leopard, rather than CVS. I really don't want to start a CVS-vs.-SVN argument, but I just do not like CVS. SVN is easier to use and I am more acclimated to using it because a few of my clients use SVN already. Searching on Google, I found an amazing tutorial on how to setup SVN on OSX Leopard (external link), which I highly recommend. I followed the tutorial and now SVN is up and running on my system, with all of my code stored neatly into repositories.

If you are looking to setup a versioning system for your source code, I highly recommend SVN instead of CVS. SVN was easy to setup and is easy to work with, especially compared to the complexity I encountered trying to maintain a CVS code repository. Apple made a good move to include SVN in OSX Leopard instead of CVS.



  • Use Bazaar! Just kidding, unless you are serious on using a distributed version control system. That said, Bazaar's Mac OS X 10.5 installer did make it easy for my project group member to install Bazaar on his Macbook running OS X Leopard.

    Posted by Eugene Wee on Wed 6 Aug 2008 at 13:15

  • I use TortoiseSVN on windows visa. Perfect little tool. No command line at all which mades it dead simple to use. Almost everything is controlled through the right click menu: updating, commiting, merging/tagging. Plus to have a diff program build in so you can see changes made to files between revisions. Single best program I have on my laptop.

    I'm just getting the hang of branching off the trunk for big changes and then merging back into it after making the changes. Takes a bit of getting used to compared to just editting the trunk for everything.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Wed 6 Aug 2008 at 18:39

  • If you are looking for an SVN to use if you are on Windows then I would highly recommend Tortoise SVN ( It integrates into Windows so is not IDE dependent and works very well.

    On a side note for SVN, do not add compiled files to your repository (just source code, project files, etc.) as this can cause issues.

    Posted by Tom (external link) on Wed 6 Aug 2008 at 18:50

  • I just use the command line, but I know that svnX ( is pretty good for a nice interface. TortoiseSVN is also really nice if you're on Windows.

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Wed 6 Aug 2008 at 19:49

  • The tip about not adding compiled files (or generated files of any kind) to ones repository (or branch, as the case may be) applies to version control in general, though in some cases it may be impractical to avoid doing so.

    Posted by Eugene Wee on Thu 7 Aug 2008 at 7:15

  • I mainly work with interpreted languages so compiled stuff isn't an issie for me at all.

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Thu 7 Aug 2008 at 12:35