newbie question

Ken Bloom kbloom at
Thu Nov 2 19:06:00 CET 2006

On Thursday 02 November 2006 02:22, Vim Visual wrote:
> Hi,
> this is very funny... this week I started thinking that svn would be
> a clever way to backup everything at /home/pau and I found this
> mailing list...
> However, even if seemingly I had a good idea, because it's shared by
> many people,
> I seem not to know how to proceed. I have never used svn nor cvs but
> I skimmed through the manual to learn how to do things and I am a bit
> puzzled...
> I started writing a script for cron, so that it automatically svn
> commits everything in /home/pau (which is also iron hand, like Joey
> Hess'), so that I created a local mirror like
> /home/pau/local_svn_mirror
> and in it made a ln -s to all /home/pau/important_directory1,
> /home/pau/important_directory2
> and the idea was to svn commit /home/pau/local_svn_mirror to a
> repository in another machine...
> But then I ran into a snag... I am a newbie to svn and I think
> that I have to tell svn which files have been created, deleted,
> etc...
>                      svn add foo      - to add a new directory (foo),
>                                         new files, links etc
>                      svn delete foo   - instead of just "rm"
>                      svn copy foo bar - instead of just "cp foo bar"
>                      svn move foo bar - instead of just "mv foo bar"
> When I realised of this then I understood it makes no sense to try to
> svn commit everything... Then I googled and found the Hess' page but
> I didn't quite understand some things... I've got the impression I am
> doing things in the wrong way
> So the question is... how do you tell svn which files/subdirectories
> have you created in your local mirror without having to pass svn add,
> svn delete to everything, which would be nonesense?

We don't use Subversion as a backup system, copying files into a working 
directory like you do, rather our home directory *is* the working 
directory, and we use svn add to add files that we want versioned as we 
create them, and we commit periodically as we're working. It's a 
different way of working from the traditional way of using a computer, 
but it gives great payoff because:
* we can take advantage of versioning to try things out as we're working 
knowing we can just revert to the committed version if we change our 
* get automatic synchronization between multiple computers
* ... all of the other good stuff described in Joey Hess' articles.


Ken Bloom. PhD candidate. Linguistic Cognition Laboratory.
Department of Computer Science. Illinois Institute of Technology.
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