Lack of clarity in description on "svnadmin verify"

C. Michael Pilato cmpilato at
Wed Mar 21 20:46:56 CDT 2007

Julian Seward wrote:
> Hi.  I'd like to report a lack of clarity in the description of
> "svnadmin verify" in the otherwise excellent book.  I have checked 
> the latest nightly build of the book (r2744), the FAQ and to some
> extent the mailing lists and could not find a clear answer.
> The question is very simple.  Periodically I like to check the
> backups of our ('s) repo using svnadmin verify.  Since I
> have no desire to read the entire output, what I do is
>   svnadmin verify REPOS_PATH | tail -1
> and check that the last line printed, eg
>   * Verified revision 6653.
> contains a revision number close to what I know is the most recent
> revision.
> The problem is I don't know what svnadmin does if it finds trouble
> and none of the documentation helps.  Does it stop at that point?
> Does it print a "this revision is hosed" message and keep going?
> In short, if it prints the message above, am I guaranteed that
> all revs <= 6653 are OK, or only that 6653 is OK ?

If a problem is found, 'svnadmin verify' bails immediately with an error.

> The Book (r2744, p281) says only
>   Run this command if you wish to verify the integrity of your
>   repository.  This basically iterates through all revisions 
>   in the repository by internally dumping all revisions and
>   discarding the output.
> I think it would help to add a couple of sentences addressing this
> point, for the benefit of repo admins like me who want to automate 
> verification of their repos.  (Plus I still don't know the answer!)
> Specifying a bit more clearly what "verify the integrity"
> really means would also be no bad thing.  If svnadmin verify
> comes up clean, what does that really tell me?

These are good suggestions.  Thanks!

C. Michael Pilato <cmpilato at>

"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting.  It has
 been found difficult; and left untried."  -- G. K. Chesterton

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