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I have SSH access to a FreeBSD machine which has svnadmin (and the rest of the necessary utilities) installed. svn is version 1.7.9 (r1462340). I am on Windows 7 x64, using Tortoise SVN 1.7.7.

I have followed this official guide to help me set up my server and Tortoise SVN, but I'm having trouble setting it up.

I have generated a pair of private/public keys and added them to my server's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys file and to my Putty configuration respectively. I can connect to the remote machine using putty and my private key.

I have also tried configuring Tortoise SVN to do the same thing, and I'm connecting to:


Where it2svn is the name of the working Putty connection profile, and somerepo is a repository in my repository root (~/svnroot/somerepo).

The problem that occurs is that Tortoise SVN requests my key's passphrase and no matter how many times I enter it correctly, the password dialog is closed for 1-2 seconds, after which it prompts me for the passphrase yet again. It doesn't even say that it's wrong, it just keeps asking me for the passphrase over and over.

If I purposely enter the wrong passphrase, I get prompted for it again instantly, without the 1-2 second delay that occurs when entering the right one. The dialog still doesn't say it's wrong even though I'm entering gibberish. This might be a bug on their side, but it still doesn't explain why my correct passphrase isn't being accepted.


Here are the contents of the authorized_keys file (with the actual contents of the keys removed):

ssh-dss AAA....FuA== myBSDusername@ems

command="svnserve -t -r ~/svnroot --tunnel-user=svnAuthorDude",no-port-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-pty ssh-dss AAAA....IFuA== myBSDusername@ems

Important note: the guide said that my "command" line should look like this:

command="svnserve -t -r <ReposRootPath> --tunnel-user=<author>",
     no-pty ssh-rsa <PublicKey> <Comment>

But the key I generated using ssh-keygen using the same parameters as in the guide starts with ssh-dss instead of ssh-rsa, which is why ssh-rsa is replaced in my own file by dss (apparently because the key is a DSA and not a RSA key).

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What is the actual error message you get from Tortoise SVN? –  Martin Prikryl May 21 '13 at 7:19
I'm not getting any error. I enter my key's passphrase, and after a brief delay, Tortoise SVN simply asks for it again. I'll update the question - no actual "passphrase is wrong" message is being shown. –  Andrei Bârsan May 21 '13 at 11:30
Is there anything pertinent in the logs of the FreeBSD box? –  Flup May 21 '13 at 11:37
Sadly, I don't have access to /var/log/authlog... –  Andrei Bârsan May 21 '13 at 11:39
I believe that means, the server is not accepting your key, rather that the client rejected your passphrase. It looks like both lines in your authorized_keys refer to the same key, right? Have you tried to remove the second line and keep just the simple first one? –  Martin Prikryl May 21 '13 at 13:41
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1 Answer

up vote 0 down vote accepted

I've regenerated the key pair using PuttyGen, and made it an RSA2 key pair (versus the old DSA keys). I've also skipped protecting my private key with a passphrase, and now everything (magically) works. I don't know exactly what change actually fixed the problem, but I'm hoping this will help some future developer with a similar problem.

Here are the (relevant) contents of my user's ~/.ssh/authorized_keys:

ssh-rsa AAAA...Wc= rsa-key-20130529

command="svnserve -t -r /user/rest/of/path/svnroot --tunnel-user=someuser",no-port-forwarding,no-agent-forwarding,no-X11-forwarding,no-pty ssh-rsa AAAA...Wc= andrei
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