Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm using VisualSVN to serve several SVN repositories, and it uses Windows authentication to control access. Some of the files have the [ and ] characters, and spaces, in their names.

Changing their permissions via the VisualSVN management console causes problems with the authz-windows file it uses, and I've contacted them about that. But since VisualSVN seems to use CollabNet's SVN binaries under the hood (1.7.5), I figure I should be able to do it by hand. So how can I enter the file names in a form that's accepted by SVN? I've tried entering them simply as

[repo:/path/to/[12345] my file.ext]
< permissions here >

But I can still access the file when I should not be able to. (I can confirm that the whole system works by checking it on other files without such characters.)

I've also tried URL quoting (%5B12345%5D%20my%20file.ext), enclosing it in quotes, and escaping various combinations of spaces and brackets, with no success. The svnauthz-validate tool claims that all of these are fine.

share|improve this question
I posted this question to the Apache Subversion mailing list. – detly Jul 11 '12 at 7:15
up vote 2 down vote accepted

This is limitation of Apache Subversion not of Subversion binaries distribution.

VisualSVN Server doesn't use CollabNet binaries under the hood. VisualSVN Server includes original Apache Subversion source code to build binaries own binaries.

UPDATE: This problem filled as issue #4204 in Subversion issue tracker.

share|improve this answer
So it's simply not possible to control access to files with certain characters in their name? – detly Jul 10 '12 at 23:22
Yes, currently it's not possible in Apache Subversion. I recommended you report this issue to Subversion developer's community and probably one of Subversion committer will fix it some day (may be me :) – Ivan Zhakov Jul 11 '12 at 14:26
This issue has been filed as #4204 – detly Jul 12 '12 at 10:02
@detly Great! I'll take a look to this issue on next SVN hacking cycle :) – Ivan Zhakov Jul 12 '12 at 17:36
there's a bit of ensuing discussion on the ML regarding just how pathological a pathname to tolerate ;) – detly Jul 13 '12 at 1:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.