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Farewell to Subversion: GitHub Sunsets Support after 13 Years

Next January GitHub will remove Subversion support from, with GitHub Enterprise Server following soon after. Introduced in 2010 to provide developers with a path to Git, the SVN endpoint now receives only 0.02% of the requests to the source control service.

GitHub repositories can be accessed from both Git and Subversion (SVN) clients since April 2010. Distributed version controls were not yet the most popular solutions and GitHub decided to offer repositories as an SVN external, supporting build tools and continuous integrations systems that only worked with SVN. Matt Cooper, director of product at GitHub, explains:

By natively supporting Subversion on top of a Git backend, GitHub made it easier for customers to move to Git while changing their workflows over in a gradual way (...) Git enjoys up to 94% usage by developers, and Subversion is a lot rarer in the wild than it used to be.

Maintenance costs and the evolution of versioning are now pushing GitHub to sunset the "world's biggest Subversion host". Cooper explains what the main use cases for Subversion on GitHub are and how to address them:

There were workflows that Git didn’t support until recently (...) checking out a subset of the repository–a single directory, or only the latest commit. I have good news: with sparse checkout, sparse index, and partial clone, Git can now do a pretty decent job at these workflows.

Scott Chacon, co-founder of GitHub and CEO of Chatterbug, remembers on Hacker News how SVN support was added and tweets:

On April Fool's Day 13 years ago, GitHub posted the best April Fool's Day post of any tech company, ever. SVN support on GitHub that actually fully worked, and did now for 13 years. As the father of this unholy offspring, I officially bless the setting of this son.

While some users question the timeline, Joost de Valk, head of WP strategy at Newfold Digital and founder of Yoast, writes:

GitHub is sunsetting Subversion support. Maybe it’s time WordPress stops using Subversion too?

Offering SVN on top of a Git backend is not a common approach among source control services. GitLab supports only Git as well the managed services of the largest cloud providers: AWS CodeCommit, Cloud Source Repositories, and Azure Repos never had a Subversion interface, encouraging customers to migrate first to Git.

According to GitHub, every month only 5000 repositories receive an SVN request, with only 0.02% of the requests coming through a Subversion endpoint.

Subversion support will remain available on until January 8, 2024, and the first version of GitHub Enterprise Server after that date will also remove Subversion support.

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