When I log into our mac mini server running OSX 10.6 via ssh and use svn I get the message:

ATTENTION! Your password for authentication realm:

can only be stored to disk unencrypted! You are advised to configure your system so that Subversion can store passwords encrypted, if possible. See the documentation for details.

You can avoid future appearances of this warning by setting the value of the 'store-plaintext-passwords' option to either 'yes' or 'no' in '/Users/xxxxxxxx/.subversion/servers'.

I dont' want to store the password unencrypted though. I've found some details on how to use GNOME keychain in linux to sort this, but nothing on how to use macosx's keychain.

Anyone got any ideas?

Thanks a lot!


The subversion client that comes with 10.6 can store credentials in the keychain, but I believe that you have to be logged in graphically for it to have access to the keychain. The "login" keychain is unlocked automatically when you log in graphically if its password is the same as the one you actually use to login, which may be the reason.

It is also possible to use Kerberos to authenticate if you configure it through Apache on your subversion server. I believe you would need to compile your own copy of the subversion client, however.


I know this question is a little old, but I just found the solution... You can do it remotely via SSH by invoking security(1) before doing your svn up.

$ security unlock-keychain ~/Library/Keychains/login.keychain
password to unlock /Users/username/Library/Keychains/login.keychain:
$ svn up

I think it depends on the svn implementation you're using. AFAIR, it works when using the version from open.collab.net:


  • thanks chris. If I run svn update on the server from a terminal via VNC then it appears to pick up the credentials from my keychain, whereas if I connect directly to the server via ssh it doesn't. – Ben Clayton Mar 15 '10 at 10:29

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