Installing the Subversion Client with SSL Support on Linux

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Posted on April 04, 2006 2:20 PM in Computers
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Today I needed to take a Red Hat Linux box and get the Subversion client running on it so I could check out some source from a secure repository. Initially, building and installing Subversion was a snap using their latest tarball. However, all it took was an attempt to check out the source to see that my job was not quite done. After trying to run a command like the following:

svn co

I got the following error:

svn: SSL is not supported

Luckily it only took a quick Google search to find the source of my problem. I needed to compile Subversion against a version of neon that had SSL enabled.

So here's what I did. I downloaded the version of neon that is recommended by Subversion (since the latest version is apparently a little too recent to work with the latest version of Subversion). Then I did the typical ./configure, make, make install routine, with the following exception:

./configure --with-ssl

By adding the --with-ssl switch, I've ensured that neon will be compiled with SSL support turned on.

Then, I did a make clean on my previous Subversion compilation and reconfigured it to use the version of neon that I had just compiled, like so:

./configure --with-neon=/usr/local/

Note that I pointed to /usr/local/ because of another Subversion recommendation.

After reconfiguring, compiling and installing, I now have the Subversion client running on my Linux machine with SSL support enabled.


Verma on May 13, 2006 at 10:25 AM:



joro mitev on November 16, 2006 at 4:59 AM:

It was very useful to me: I overcome the obtrusive error

svn: SSL is not supported

My Linux is Slackware 10.1, obviously the build-in neon in the distribution is compiled without ssl.


joro mitev on November 16, 2006 at 5:05 AM:

Oooo, I forgot, the subversion client is very sensitive about Neon version. Check your INSTALL file for the needed version and download it, not newer, because it will give error on ./configure


bma398 on August 30, 2007 at 8:45 AM:

newbie to redhat.
that was a big help


Mark on September 04, 2007 at 3:00 PM:

Thanks for posting this page. Just one suggestion. When you mention that neon should be compiled with the --with-ssl switch added, you should add that this should be done as part of a separate install of neon. You can still keep neon as a dependency sub-directory of the subversion install directory (as it is now done as of subversion 1.4.x), but rather than just getting neon installed with the install of subversion, you should go through the steps of configuring and making neon from within the neon sub-directory first, THEN do the configure, make and make install for subversion itself. Maybe that's obvious to all others but it wasn't to me. Anyway, again, thanks.


Jon on April 29, 2008 at 7:32 AM:

Just thought I'd ad that if you want to install Neon with SSL in a non-standard location, use: (for example)

./configure CPPFLAGS="-I/home/svn/local/include" LDFLAGS="-L/home/svn/local/lib"


Scott Stirling on May 04, 2008 at 4:03 PM:

This info is still valid. I just used it to compile and build svn latest 1.4.6 on RedHat Enterprise 4. Today is 5/4/2008.

Thank you for the post.

By the way, to remove the version of svn that comes with RedHat out of the box (1.1.4), you can use:
rpm -e subversion

Thanks again!


Bernie Zimmermann on May 04, 2008 at 7:00 PM:

Scott, thanks for verifying that this still works with the latest version(s). That is pretty cool to know!


Suyash Apte on June 02, 2008 at 3:34 AM:

I have existing subversion 1.4.3 installation. Also there is libneon.a present in /usr/local/lib. Do i need to re-install SVN from source and configure it with neon? Or is there any way to extend existing SVN installation to use neon.


Bernie Zimmermann on June 02, 2008 at 9:18 AM:

Suyash, don't consider this the definitive answer, but if I had to guess I'd say you probably have to rebuild Subversion configured with neon. You might do some research first, though. Good luck!


Jared Earle on June 04, 2008 at 1:30 AM:

Excellent little tutorial. I used it in anger this morning.

For me, it was thus:
cd src/subversion-1.3.2
./configure --with-ssl
make -s && sudo make install
sudo apachectl graceful

Worked a treat!


BC on April 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM:

Just adding the following config-option with the existing svn worked for me:

svn ls --config-option servers:global:http-library=serf


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