Developers are intimately familiar with source control, so for them, software like Subversion is old news. For the rest of you who may have never heard of it before, Subversion is a source control system -- a piece of software that allows you and/or a group of people to manage data over time, recover previous versions of the data and examine the evolution of that data.

Some of you will see the immediate benefit to having such software to help manage scripts that you use in the COS. Then again, a large percentage of people reading this will wonder, "Why should I care about Subversion when the COS comes installed with CVS?" The answer to this question is the same as the answer to why people use Subversion as opposed to CVS in any situation: Subversion has more features than CVS and is better suited (for some) to today's development practices. For a detailed comparison, please see

Requires Free Membership to View This is not a discussion that I am going to have here. If you are a fan of CVS, then use CVS, but if you want to know how to use Subversion with ESX, then follow me!

Installing Subversion for ESX takes just 6 steps:

1) In your favorite browser go to and download the following RPMs:

2) Jump to the URL and download the following RPM:

3) Upload these RPMs to your ESX server using whatever means you wish.

4) SSH into ESX.

5) Change directories to the location where you uploaded the RPMs.

6) Type the following command:
sudo rpm -ivh --nodep *.rpm

That's it! You have now installed the core files necessary to operate the subversion client tools. Notice the "nodep" option in step 6. This is required because parts of Subversion actually require many more dependencies and we need to tell the RPM installer to skip, but for the tools that we want to use, "svn" and "svnadmin", the 6 packages will provide the necessary files for these tools to operate without error.

For more information on Subversion, please check out the official Subversion book, free online at

Hope this helps!

Resources: Subversion software:

Andrew Kutz has been professionally involved in the technology sector for 11 years. For the last six of them, he has worked with the latest technologies while employed by the University of Texas at Austin. He is an avid fan of VMware, .NET, open source, Terminal Services, coding and comics. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, BA in Ancient History and Classical Civilization. He currently lives in Austin, Tex., with his wife Mandy and their two puppies, Lucy and CJ.

This was first published in July 2006

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