GIT-SVN on Slackware 12.2

With all of the hype that git has been receiving lately, I started playing with it a while back to see if it suited me and my wants/needs. I found it to be an interesting utility. I won't go into any details simply because I'm not really all that knowledgeable about all the ins and outs of version control systems, but I will say that I have decided I like it. I'm still not sure whether I prefer GIT over SVN or SVN over GIT.

My problem is that basically all of my projects are based on SVN repositories. I don't want to have to start up a new GIT repository for each of my past projects. Fortunately, there is an interface for GIT to use SVN repositories called git-svn. I use this utility primarily on my EeePC because it saves a good amount of space on my small disk (the git-svn versions of the working copies are typically about half the size of their svn counterparts). Sometimes it's a little wacky, but it works well enough for my needs.

I started using this git-svn utility on a Debian-based distribution. That meant it was insanely simple to get up and running: sudo apt-get install git-svn. I recently installed Slackware 12.2, and I was surprised to find out that the git-svn utility wasn't immediately available to me.

I did some googling to see if others had encountered the same problem. There were several accurate hits, but I couldn't quite find the solution I needed. In the end, I finally got things working. The following information describes what I did to achieve this monumental success.

Trying git svn

The first roadblock that I encountered, obviously, was finding out that git-svn didn't work on my shiny new Slackware installation. After doing a bit of research, I learned that I could substitute the familiar git-svn command with git svn and continue using it as I previously had.

Installing Dependencies

Once I learned about git svn and tried it out, I got a nasty error about Alien/SVN. I've lost track of the original error, and for that I apologize. Doing a little bit of research led me to execute this command as root:

cpan Alien::SVN

I'm not sure exactly whether that step is required, but you might as well do it :).

Next, I downloaded a couple SlackBuilds to create my own Slackware packages suited for my computer.

For each SlackBuild, you must download the original source code along with the actual SlackBuild itself. For example, when retrieving the necessary files for swig, I must download both swig-1.3.35.tar.gz and swig.tar.gz from the link specified. Here are some example commands, which should be run as root:

mkdir -p ~/downloads/slackbuilds; cd ~/downloads/slackbuilds
tar zxf swig.tar.gz
cd swig/
installpkg /tmp/swig-1.3.35-i486-1_SBo.tgz

The commands above should create a new directory in /root/ called downloads/slackbuilds. Next, the SlackBuild for swig will be downloaded and extracted, after which the swig source code will be downloaded. The SlackBuild is executed, rendering an installable Slackware package. Finally, the package is installed onto the system.

The process is basically the same for the subversion-bindings SlackBuild. On my system, however, I had to modify the stock SlackBuild slightly. I didn't install Apache on my EeePC because I don't use it and it would just be taking up space. When I tried to execute the SlackBuild for subversion-bindings straight from the archive, it complained about a missing apxs file, which has something to do with Apache.

To avoid the error, I modified the subversion-bindings.SlackBuild script to ignore the apxs thingy. The original ./configure section looked like this:

./configure \
  --prefix=/usr \
  --mandir=/usr/man \
  --enable-shared \
  --disable-static \
  --with-apr=/usr \
  --with-apr-util=/usr \
  --with-apxs=/usr/sbin/apxs \
  --with-neon=/usr \
  --with-zlib=/usr \
  --with-pic \
  --with-ssl \

I just removed the line that says --with-apxs=/usr/sbin/apxs \ and ran the SlackBuild script again. Worked like a charm.

At this point everything appeared to be able to work properly. Running git svn from the command line no longer spit out that nasty error I mentioned earlier. Instead it gave me the options I would expect to see.

That's when I tried to update an existing working copy of an SVN repository. It gave me this error:

$ git svn rebase
Authentication realm: <> Subversion - code
Password for 'myuser': Can't locate Term/ in @INC (@INC contains:
/usr/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.10.0/i486-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib/perl5
/site_perl/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5/5.10.0/i486-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib
/perl5/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5/site_perl /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.10.0
/i486-linux-thread-multi /usr/lib/perl5/vendor_perl/5.10.0 /usr/lib/perl5
/vendor_perl .) at /usr/libexec/git-core/git-svn line 3071.

That's not very nice, now is it? The solution was fairly simple: install Perl's Term::ReadKey module. As root, execute the following command:

cpan Term::ReadKey

After doing that I was able to happily update my working copy and move on.

I don't envision that this article will be the all-knowing, all-powerful resource for how to use git-svn on Slackware, but I sure hope it will help some other folks who run into the same problems as me.


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