git-svn <command> [options] [arguments]


git-svn is a simple conduit for changesets between a single Subversion branch and git. It is not to be confused with gitlink:git-svnimport[1]. They were designed with very different goals in mind.

git-svn is designed for an individual developer who wants a bidirectional flow of changesets between a single branch in Subversion and an arbitrary number of branches in git. git-svnimport is designed for read-only operation on repositories that match a particular layout (albeit the recommended one by SVN developers).

For importing svn, git-svnimport is potentially more powerful when operating on repositories organized under the recommended trunk/branch/tags structure, and should be faster, too.

git-svn mostly ignores the very limited view of branching that Subversion has. This allows git-svn to be much easier to use, especially on repositories that are not organized in a manner that git-svnimport is designed for.



Creates an empty git repository with additional metadata directories for git-svn. The Subversion URL must be specified as a command-line argument. Optionally, the target directory to operate on can be specified as a second argument. Normally this command initializes the current directory.


Fetch unfetched revisions from the Subversion URL we are tracking. refs/remotes/git-svn will be updated to the latest revision.

Note: You should never attempt to modify the remotes/git-svn branch outside of git-svn. Instead, create a branch from remotes/git-svn and work on that branch. Use the commit command (see below) to write git commits back to remotes/git-svn.

See Additional Fetch Arguments if you are interested in manually joining branches on commit.


Commit all diffs from the current HEAD directly to the SVN repository, and then rebase or reset (depending on whether or not there is a diff between SVN and HEAD). It is recommended that you run git-svn fetch and rebase (not pull) your commits against the latest changes in the SVN repository. This is advantageous over commit (below) because it produces cleaner, more linear history.


This should make it easy to look up svn log messages when svn users refer to -r/--revision numbers.

The following features from `svn log' are supported:
--revision=<n>[:<n>] - is supported, non-numeric args are not:
                       HEAD, NEXT, BASE, PREV, etc ...
-v/--verbose         - it's not completely compatible with
                       the --verbose output in svn log, but
                       reasonably close.
--limit=<n>          - is NOT the same as --max-count,
                       doesn't count merged/excluded commits
--incremental        - supported
New features:
--show-commit        - shows the git commit sha1, as well
--oneline            - our version of --pretty=oneline
Any other arguments are passed directly to `git log'

You should consider using dcommit instead of this command. Commit specified commit or tree objects to SVN. This relies on your imported fetch data being up-to-date. This makes absolutely no attempts to do patching when committing to SVN, it simply overwrites files with those specified in the tree or commit. All merging is assumed to have taken place independently of git-svn functions.


Not a part of daily usage, but this is a useful command if you’ve just cloned a repository (using gitlink:git-clone[1]) that was tracked with git-svn. Unfortunately, git-clone does not clone git-svn metadata and the svn working tree that git-svn uses for its operations. This rebuilds the metadata so git-svn can resume fetch operations. A Subversion URL may be optionally specified at the command-line if the directory/repository you’re tracking has moved or changed protocols.


Recursively finds and lists the svn:ignore property on directories. The output is suitable for appending to the $GIT_DIR/info/exclude file.


Commits the diff of two tree-ish arguments from the command-line. This command is intended for interopability with git-svnimport and does not rely on being inside an git-svn init-ed repository. This command takes three arguments, (a) the original tree to diff against, (b) the new tree result, (c) the URL of the target Subversion repository. The final argument (URL) may be omitted if you are working from a git-svn-aware repository (that has been init-ed with git-svn). The -r<revision> option is required for this.


This command attempts to detect merges/branches from already imported history. Techniques used currently include regexes, file copies, and tree-matches). This command generates (or modifies) the $GIT_DIR/info/grafts file. This command is considered experimental, and inherently flawed because merge-tracking in SVN is inherently flawed and inconsistent across different repositories.


This command supports git-svnimport-like command-line syntax for importing repositories that are layed out as recommended by the SVN folks. This is a bit more tolerant than the git-svnimport command-line syntax and doesn’t require the user to figure out where the repository URL ends and where the repository path begins.


This runs fetch on all known SVN branches we’re tracking. This will NOT discover new branches (unlike git-svnimport), so multi-init will need to be re-run (it’s idempotent).



Only used with the init command. These are passed directly to gitlink:git-init-db[1].

-r <ARG>
--revision <ARG>

Only used with the fetch command.

Takes any valid -r<argument> svn would accept and passes it directly to svn. -r<ARG1>:<ARG2> ranges and "{" DATE "}" syntax is also supported. This is passed directly to svn, see svn documentation for more details.

This can allow you to make partial mirrors when running fetch.


Only used with the commit command.

Read a list of commits from stdin and commit them in reverse order. Only the leading sha1 is read from each line, so git-rev-list --pretty=oneline output can be used.


Only used with the dcommit, commit and commit-diff commands.

Remove directories from the SVN tree if there are no files left behind. SVN can version empty directories, and they are not removed by default if there are no files left in them. git cannot version empty directories. Enabling this flag will make the commit to SVN act like git.

repo-config key: svn.rmdir


Only used with the dcommit, commit and commit-diff commands.

Edit the commit message before committing to SVN. This is off by default for objects that are commits, and forced on when committing tree objects.

repo-config key: svn.edit


Only used with the dcommit, commit and commit-diff commands.

They are both passed directly to git-diff-tree see gitlink:git-diff-tree[1] for more information.

repo-config key: svn.l repo-config key: svn.findcopiesharder

Syntax is compatible with the files used by git-svnimport and git-cvsimport:

        loginname = Joe User <>

If this option is specified and git-svn encounters an SVN committer name that does not exist in the authors-file, git-svn will abort operation. The user will then have to add the appropriate entry. Re-running the previous git-svn command after the authors-file is modified should continue operation.

repo-config key: svn.authorsfile


Make git-svn less verbose. This only affects git-svn if you have the SVN::* libraries installed and are using them.


--repack-flags=<flags> These should help keep disk usage sane for large fetches with many revisions.

--repack takes an optional argument for the number of revisions
to fetch before repacking.  This defaults to repacking every
1000 commits fetched if no argument is specified.
--repack-flags are passed directly to gitlink:git-repack[1].

repo-config key: svn.repack repo-config key: svn.repackflags


These are only used with the dcommit command.

Passed directly to git-rebase when using dcommit if a git-reset cannot be used (see dcommit).


This is only used with the dcommit command.

Print out the series of git arguments that would show which diffs would be committed to SVN.


--branch <refname>

Used with fetch or commit.

This can be used to join arbitrary git branches to remotes/git-svn on new commits where the tree object is equivalent.

When used with different GIT_SVN_ID values, tags and branches in SVN can be tracked this way, as can some merges where the heads end up having completely equivalent content. This can even be used to track branches across multiple SVN repositories.

This option may be specified multiple times, once for each branch.

repo-config key: svn.branch

--id <GIT_SVN_ID>

This sets GIT_SVN_ID (instead of using the environment). See the section on Tracking Multiple Repositories or Branches for more information on using GIT_SVN_ID.


This is especially helpful when we’re tracking a directory that has been moved around within the repository, or if we started tracking a branch and never tracked the trunk it was descended from.

This relies on the SVN::* libraries to work.

repo-config key: svn.followparent


This gets rid of the git-svn-id: lines at the end of every commit.

With this, you lose the ability to use the rebuild command.  If
you ever lose your .git/svn/git-svn/.rev_db file, you won't be
able to fetch again, either.  This is fine for one-shot imports.
The 'git-svn log' command will not work on repositories using this,

repo-config key: svn.nometadata



Only used with the rebuild command.

Run this if you used an old version of git-svn that used "git-svn-HEAD" instead of "remotes/git-svn" as the branch for tracking the remote.


Only used with the fetch and rebuild command.

This command has no effect when you are using the SVN::* libraries with git, svn:externals are always avoided.

By default, git-svn passes --ignore-externals to svn to avoid fetching svn:external trees into git. Pass this flag to enable externals tracking directly via git.

Versions of svn that do not support --ignore-externals are automatically detected and this flag will be automatically enabled for them.

Otherwise, do not enable this flag unless you know what you’re doing.

repo-config key: svn.noignoreexternals


Only used with the fetch command.

By default git-svn will crash if it tries to import a revision from SVN which has (no date) listed as the date of the revision. This is repository corruption on SVN’s part, plain and simple. But sometimes you really need those revisions anyway.

If supplied git-svn will convert (no date) entries to the UNIX epoch (midnight on Jan. 1, 1970). Yes, that’s probably very wrong. SVN was very wrong.

Basic Examples

Tracking and contributing to an Subversion managed-project:

# Initialize a repo (like git init-db):
        git-svn init
# Fetch remote revisions:
        git-svn fetch
# Create your own branch to hack on:
        git checkout -b my-branch remotes/git-svn
# Commit only the git commits you want to SVN:
        git-svn commit <tree-ish> [<tree-ish_2> ...]
# Commit all the git commits from my-branch that don't exist in SVN:
        git-svn commit remotes/
# Something is committed to SVN, rebase the latest into your branch:
        git-svn fetch && git rebase remotes/git-svn
# Append svn:ignore settings to the default git exclude file:
        git-svn show-ignore >> .git/info/exclude


Originally, git-svn recommended that the remotes/git-svn branch be pulled from. This is because the author favored git-svn commit B to commit a single head rather than the git-svn commit A..B notation to commit multiple commits.

If you use git-svn commit A..B to commit several diffs and you do not have the latest remotes/git-svn merged into my-branch, you should use git rebase to update your work branch instead of git pull. pull can cause non-linear history to be flattened when committing into SVN, which can lead to merge commits reversing previous commits in SVN.


Merge tracking in Subversion is lacking and doing branched development with Subversion is cumbersome as a result. git-svn completely forgoes any automated merge/branch tracking on the Subversion side and leaves it entirely up to the user on the git side. It’s simply not worth it to do a useful translation when the original signal is weak.


This is for advanced users, most users should ignore this section.

Because git-svn does not care about relationships between different branches or directories in a Subversion repository, git-svn has a simple hack to allow it to track an arbitrary number of related or unrelated SVN repositories via one git repository. Simply set the GIT_SVN_ID environment variable to a name other other than "git-svn" (the default) and git-svn will ignore the contents of the $GIT_DIR/svn/git-svn directory and instead do all of its work in $GIT_DIR/svn/$GIT_SVN_ID for that invocation. The interface branch will be remotes/$GIT_SVN_ID, instead of remotes/git-svn. Any remotes/$GIT_SVN_ID branch should never be modified by the user outside of git-svn commands.


This is for advanced users, most users should ignore this section.

Unfetched SVN revisions may be imported as children of existing commits by specifying additional arguments to fetch. Additional parents may optionally be specified in the form of sha1 hex sums at the command-line. Unfetched SVN revisions may also be tied to particular git commits with the following syntax:


This allows you to tie unfetched SVN revision 375 to your current HEAD:

        git-svn fetch 375=$(git-rev-parse HEAD)

Advanced Example: Tracking a Reorganized Repository

Note: this example is now obsolete if you have SVN::* libraries installed. Simply use --follow-parent when fetching.

If you’re tracking a directory that has moved, or otherwise been branched or tagged off of another directory in the repository and you care about the full history of the project, then you can read this section.

This is how Yann Dirson tracked the trunk of the ufoai directory when the /trunk directory of his repository was moved to /ufoai/trunk and he needed to continue tracking /ufoai/trunk where /trunk left off.

        # This log message shows when the repository was reorganized:
        r166 | ydirson | 2006-03-02 01:36:55 +0100 (Thu, 02 Mar 2006) | 1 line
        Changed paths:
           D /trunk
           A /ufoai/trunk (from /trunk:165)

        # First we start tracking the old revisions:
        GIT_SVN_ID=git-oldsvn git-svn init \
        GIT_SVN_ID=git-oldsvn git-svn fetch -r1:165

        # And now, we continue tracking the new revisions:
        GIT_SVN_ID=git-newsvn git-svn init \
        GIT_SVN_ID=git-newsvn git-svn fetch \
              166=`git-rev-parse refs/remotes/git-oldsvn`


If you are not using the SVN::* Perl libraries and somebody commits a conflicting changeset to SVN at a bad moment (right before you commit) causing a conflict and your commit to fail, your svn working tree ($GIT_DIR/git-svn/tree) may be dirtied. The easiest thing to do is probably just to rm -rf $GIT_DIR/git-svn/tree and run rebuild.

We ignore all SVN properties except svn:executable. Too difficult to map them since we rely heavily on git write-tree being exactly the same on both the SVN and git working trees and I prefer not to clutter working trees with metadata files.

Renamed and copied directories are not detected by git and hence not tracked when committing to SVN. I do not plan on adding support for this as it’s quite difficult and time-consuming to get working for all the possible corner cases (git doesn’t do it, either). Renamed and copied files are fully supported if they’re similar enough for git to detect them.




Written by Eric Wong <>.


Written by Eric Wong <>.