I am having problems commiting files to an svn repository via tortoise svn.

On a commit, I get the error:

Error: Commit failed (details follow):  
Error: Can't chmod '/mnt/svn_repos/software/db/transactions/3719-1.txn/rev': Operation   
Error: not permitted  

From reading other articles I figured it was because the user running apache ( in my case www-data ) wasn't the owner of the repositories.

So, logged in as root, I did this: chown -R www-data:www-data software

But ls -al reveals that root is still the owner of that folder and I still get that error on a commit.

I did chmod -R 777 * on the entire repository.

Any ideas?

NB. I have been able to commit to this filesystem in the past. We had to reboot our machine and apache did not start automatically, so we had to start it manually ( just via /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start ) and since doing that I am no longer able to commit.

  • 1
    I see that the path is /mnt/svn_repos/ which makes me think that it isn't on the root filesystem. What filesystem is svn_repos on? Is it on a FAT/NTFS, is it network mounted via samba? Is it on another filesystem that doesn't support *nix user/permissions? Your SVN repository, should almost certainly be hosted on a local filesystem.
    – Zoredache
    Feb 3, 2011 at 17:44
  • How does the client authenticate? Over SSH?
    – not2savvy
    Jul 18, 2022 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


If you use NTFS/FAT. Find www-data UID(33 in my Ubuntu):

$ LC_ALL=C id www-data
uid=33(www-data) gid=33(www-data) groups=33(www-data)

and mount partition with ouid=33 option.

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