HowTo to handle SVN repositories creation and access control with Redmine » History » Revision 17

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Nicolas Chuche, 2008-09-09 00:28

HowTo to handle SVN repositories creation and access control with Redmine

This setup is deprecated, you should try Repositories_access_control_with_apache_mod_dav_svn_and_mod_perl


This setup is not required if you just need to browse your repositories and changesets from Redmine.

As of version 0.5.0, Redmine is able to handle Subversion repositories creation and access control.

Once you've done this extra setup, Redmine will create the repository for each of your projects. Users will be allowed to access the repositories using ssh+svn, according to their permissions defined in Redmine :

  • for public projects : read access to the repository for any user, write access for project members only,
  • for private projects : read/write access allowed to project members only.

User authentication is done using the same login/password as for Redmine access.



You need Redmine 0.5.0 or higher, running with MySQL1.

Your SVN repositories must be hosted on a *nix system with the following packages:
  • nss_mysql
  • pam_mysql 0.7pre2 or higher, compiled with SHA1 support

Scripts used in this HowTo can be found in the /extra/svn directory of Redmine.

In this HowTo, we assume that:
  • the redmine database is called redmine and hosted on localhost
  • the Subversion repositories are located in /var/svn

Network considerations

The SVN host must be able to access both the Redmine database and HTTP server(s). In many cases, they will all be located on the same host.


Installing requires packages

Get nss_mysql and other necessary packages:

apt-get install build-essential libnss-mysql libpam0g-dev libssl-dev libmysqlclient15-dev

Get and build pam_mysql:

$ cd /usr/src
$ wget
$ tar xzf pam_mysql-0.7RC1.tar.gz
$ cd pam_mysql-0.7RC1
$ ./configure --with-openssl
$ make && make install

Preparing the Redmine database

Some views need to be added to the Redmine database. These views are used to authenticate users and retrieve their permissions.

1. Create the different views in your Redmine database :

mysql --user=root redmine -p < create_views.sql

2. Create and grant privileges to 2 new mysql users (redmine_nss and redmine_pam):

mysql --user=root -p
mysql> create user redmine_nss@localhost identified by 'averylongpassword';
mysql> grant SELECT on redmine.nss_groups to redmine_nss@localhost;
mysql> grant SELECT on redmine.nss_users to redmine_nss@localhost;
mysql> grant SELECT on redmine.nss_grouplist to redmine_nss@localhost;
mysql> create user redmine_pam@localhost identified by 'averylongpassword';
mysql> grant SELECT on redmine.ssh_users to redmine_pam@localhost;

Configuring nss-mysql

3. Create the /etc/nss-mysql.conf as follows:

conf.version = 2; = inet:localhost:3306;
users.database = redmine;
users.db_user = redmine_nss;
users.db_password = averylongpassword;
users.backup_database = nss_mysql_backup;
users.table = nss_users;
users.user_column = nss_users.username;
users.userid_column = nss_users.username;
users.uid_column = nss_users.uid;
users.gid_column = 100;
users.realname_column = nss_users.realname;
users.homedir_column = "/false/path";
users.shell_column = "/usr/local/bin/svnserve.wrapper";
groups.group_info_table = nss_groups;
groups.group_name_column =;
groups.groupid_column = nss_groups.gid;
groups.gid_column = nss_groups.gid;
groups.password_column = "x";
groups.members_table = nss_grouplist;
groups.member_userid_column = nss_grouplist.username;
groups.member_groupid_column = nss_grouplist.gid;

4. Install the svnserve wrapper

sudo install svnserve.wrapper /usr/local/bin

5. Change /etc/nsswitch.conf

Add “mysql†at the end of the two lines passwd and group like that :

passwd:         compat mysql
group:          compat mysql

6. Test that all this stuff works :

You must have users in some project to verify.

% getent passwd
user1:x:5002:100:user1 user1:/false/path:/usr/local/bin/svnserve.wrapper
user2:x:5003:100:user2 user2:/false/path:/usr/local/bin/svnserve.wrapper

% getent group

Authorize ssh pam to use mysql

7. Add these lines in /etc/pam.d/ssh :

auth sufficient \
verbose=1 \
user=redmine_pam \
passwd=averylongpassword \
host=localhost \
db=redmine \
table=ssh_users \
usercolumn=username \
passwdcolumn=password crypt=4

account sufficient \
verbose=1 \
user=redmine_pam \
passwd=averylongpassword \
host=localhost \
db=redmine \
table=ssh_users \
usercolumn=username \
passwdcolumn=password crypt=4

password sufficient \
verbose=1 \
user=redmine_pam \
passwd=averylongpassword \
host=localhost \
db=redmine \
table=ssh_users \
usercolumn=username \
passwdcolumn=password crypt=4

Juste before

@include common-auth

8. Test this against an existing Redmine user

Try to connect to the SVN host using a Redmine username (eg. jsmith):

$ ssh jsmith@localhost
jsmith@localhost's password:
Could not chdir to home directory /false/path: No such file or directory
( success ( 1 2 ( ANONYMOUS EXTERNAL ) ( edit-pipeline ) ) )

The chdir error is the expected result.

Automating repository creation

Repository creation can be automated by running periodically the reposman script.

It takes 2 arguments:

  • svn-dir: path to the directory where your svn repositories are located
  • redmine-host: host name of your Redmine install

Perl and Ruby versions of this script are provided but the perl version is now deprecated.

Example using the Ruby version:

./reposman.rb --svn-dir=/var/svn --redmine-host=localhost
repository /var/svn/project2 created
repository /var/svn/project1 created
mode change on /var/svn/project3

Projects are retrieved from Redmine using a SOAP web service. This web service is disabled by default in Redmine.
To enable it, go to “Administration -> Settings†and check Enable WS for repository management.

Make sure this option is checked if you get this error when running reposman:
Service description 'http://localhost/sys/service.wsdl' can't be loaded: 404 Not Found

With a recent version of redMine/reposman.rb (re. 860 and later), reposman.rb can register the new repository
in redMine so that you have nothing to do and set the owner of repository to who you want to allow browsing private
repository in redMine. You can do that by using the --url argument :

ruby ./reposman.rb --redmine-host localhost:3000 --svn-dir /var/svn \
                   --url file:///var/svn/

reposman will send back to Redmine the url of your repository. be careful when testing, one registered, you can't change the url in redmine).

Next time you create a project, reposman will informe Redmine that the repository was created and Redmine will save the repository url.
This way, the administrator won't have to enter the repositories urls manually in Redmine.

Accessing the repositories

You can now access project1 repository using this url:


What if you want to allow Redmine to browse private repository ?

The previous recipes allow you to create repository on the fly and anonymous browsing. But, if your project is private or if the project isn't on the same server, you won't be able to browse it in Redmine.

Redmine and svn are on the same server

In this case, you just need to use the --url option like in the previous item to register the repository and the --owner argument to set the repository owner to the mongrel/apache user so that it can access the repositories.

ruby ./reposman.rb --redmine-host localhost:3000 --svn-dir /var/svn \
                   --url file:///var/svn/ --owner MONGREL_USER

BUT, you won't be able to separate svn and Redmine hosts in the future (in fact you will be able to but you would have to manually update the repositories urls in the database and that's bad). A better way to do this, if you think you will need to separate those two servers one day, is to do like you already have two servers. To do this, read the next recipe.

Redmine and svn aren't on the same server

There's more than one way to do this, one could be to use a specific user to browse the repository with svnserve or svn+ssh but I don't like this way (don't ask why). Another way is to add a third access way (we already have svn+ssh for registered users and svnserve for anonymous users).

In the following, the Redmine server is known as and the svn as You need to have apache/apache2 and mod_dav_svn on the svn server.

1. configure your apache to serve the svn repository just for the Redmine server

Just add something like that in your apache.conf or in a file in the directory /etc/apache/conf.d:

   LoadModule dav_svn_module /usr/lib/apache2/modules/
   <Location /svn>
   DAV svn
   # this must be the path you give to reposman with -s,--svn-dir argument
   SVNParentPath "/var/svn" 
   Order allow,deny
   Allow from

Verify you can access it from your Redmine server.

2. change your reposman cron by adding the --owner argument with the apache user :

ruby ./reposman.rb --redmine-host --svn-dir /var/svn
                   --url --owner APACHE_USER

Web Service and Security

For the moment, the WS is open to everybody once actived and you surely don't want that someone register project for you. You can block access to the WS with apache/mongrel (if you don't use apache, I let you do your homework...) with the Location apache directive like this :

<VirtualHost *:80>
   ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost

   <Location /sys>
      Order allow,deny
      Allow from

   ProxyPass / http://localhost:3000/
   ProxyPassReverse / http://localhost:3000/

1 Other databases can not be used because of various problems: no pam module, no sha1 handling,...

Updated by Nicolas Chuche almost 16 years ago · 17 revisions