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When I am connected to mysvnserver using the repo browser (TortoiseSVN), I do not see an open connection when I perform a netstat on the mysvnserver box and grep for my computer. What is the behavior? Does it download an index file and cache it locally so that I don't need a persistent connection to the svn server? Why then do I see many other computers connected to that server using the svn protocol? What operation would cause a stateful connection? Is it only check in/commit and check out?

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SVN is typically not a stateful connection. Think of your subversion server the same as a web server (which in many cases, it is). Web servers do not keep stateful connections, and neither will SVN.

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