Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

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Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

Thanks,
Alfred

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
On May 31, 2017, at 11:18, I wrote:

After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

Has anyone ever done this?  Are there any negative repercussions?  Inquiring minds (well, maybe it’s just me) want to know…

Alfred

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Nico Kadel-Garcia-2
On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 7:15 AM, Alfred von Campe <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On May 31, 2017, at 11:18, I wrote:
>
> After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the
> svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing
> the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or
> are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge
> trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also
> propagate to the other branches.
>
> So my questions are:
>
> Is this safe to do?
> Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time
> as one would expect?
>
>
> Has anyone ever done this?  Are there any negative repercussions?  Inquiring
> minds (well, maybe it’s just me) want to know…
>
> Alfred

I suspect you're going to hurt yourself if you try this sort of stunt.
Not that it might not work in theory for some cases, but it's not
tested and is against the basic "never, never, never, and did I
mention never alter history" approach to Subversion.

What I think you *can* do is an "svnadmin dump | svndumpfilter exclude
(obsolete branches) | svnadmin load" to another Subversion repo, and
switch to that repo to have a modified history. That's the only
officially supported way to flush obsolete content. There are some
alternatives that I've personally found effective, that are not so
well supported. Using "git-svn" to get the content to a git repo,
deleting content *there*, running a "git gc --aggressive" to clear
content, and then pushing the content back up to another Subversion
server has been effective for me. But it tends to lose svn:properties
settings, and it makes many Subversion admins twitch and shudder and
break out in hives when they realize you're using git to provide
features that violate the basic "never delete  history" of Subversion
design philosophy.
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
On Jun 2, 2017, at 8:25, Nico Kadel-Garcia wrote:

> I suspect you're going to hurt yourself if you try this sort of stunt.
> Not that it might not work in theory for some cases, but it's not
> tested and is against the basic "never, never, never, and did I
> mention never alter history" approach to Subversion.

Why?  The svn:mergeinfo property just kept track of what revisions have
been merged from a given branch.  If I delete the branch the information
is useless, but there is no automatic cleanup of that property.
 
> What I think you *can* do is an "svnadmin dump | svndumpfilter exclude
> (obsolete branches) | svnadmin load" to another Subversion repo, and
> switch to that repo to have a modified history.

I don’t want to alter history.  I want the older branches around so they
can be browsed and inspected for history.  I just want to clean up the
svn:mergeinfo property so it’s easier to read.

I would love for one of the Subversion developers to chime in here...

Alfred

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RE: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Cooke, Mark-2
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alfred von Campe [mailto:[hidden email]]
> Sent: 02 June 2017 13:40
>
> On Jun 2, 2017, at 8:25, Nico Kadel-Garcia wrote:
>
> > I suspect you're going to hurt yourself if you try this sort of stunt.
> > Not that it might not work in theory for some cases, but it's not
> > tested and is against the basic "never, never, never, and did I
> > mention never alter history" approach to Subversion.
>
> Why?  The svn:mergeinfo property just kept track of what revisions have
> been merged from a given branch.  If I delete the branch the information
> is useless, but there is no automatic cleanup of that property.

How did you "delete the branch"?  Unless you performed a dump/filter/load then they are all still there, in all those revisions referenced by the merge info property... Hence the information is still valid.

I seem to remember that new commands (or a script) are available to try to consolidate svn:mergeinfo, have you seen or tried any of those?

> > What I think you *can* do is an "svnadmin dump | svndumpfilter exclude
> > (obsolete branches) | svnadmin load" to another Subversion repo, and
> > switch to that repo to have a modified history.
>
> I don’t want to alter history.  I want the older branches around so they
> can be browsed and inspected for history.  I just want to clean up the
> svn:mergeinfo property so it’s easier to read.
>
> I would love for one of the Subversion developers to chime in here...
>
> Alfred

(I'm not a svn dev)

~ Mark C

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Mark Phippard-3
In reply to this post by Alfred von Campe
Have you seen this script?


I believe it does this though I have never tried it.

Mark



On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:18 AM, Alfred von Campe <[hidden email]> wrote:
After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

Thanks,
Alfred




--
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Mark Phippard-3

On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 8:46 AM, Mark Phippard <[hidden email]> wrote:
Have you seen this script?


I believe it does this though I have never tried it.

Mark



On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:18 AM, Alfred von Campe <[hidden email]> wrote:
After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

Thanks,
Alfred




--



--
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Stefan Hett-2
Hi Alfred,

On 6/2/2017 2:48 PM, Mark Phippard wrote:

On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 8:46 AM, Mark Phippard <[hidden email]> wrote:
Have you seen this script?


I believe it does this though I have never tried it.


On Wed, May 31, 2017 at 11:18 AM, Alfred von Campe <[hidden email]> wrote:
After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the <a class="moz-txt-link-freetext" href="svn:mergeinfo">svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?


jcorvel made me aware of your post here.

I'm regularly using the svn mergeinfo normalizer myself. It should suit your requirements quite well, but you'd be aware that it hasn't been tested thoroughly by a lot of people, since it's a new tool in the not yet released 1.10 development branch.

To get some basic documentation about what the tool does, best start with the integrated help (svn-mergeinfo-normalizer help).
In your case all you might actually need is to run "svn-mergeinfo-normalizer normalize --remove-obsoletes" followed by committing the changes. Carefully verify the changes before committing them. As said: The tool hasn't gotten much test coverage by a broader audience yet.

There are also other useful commands (--remove-redundant which tries to elide unnecessary mergeinfo entries as well as --combine-ranges which will combine mergeinfo ranges into shorter representations where possible).

Useful is also its "svn-mergeinfo-normalizer analyze" command, which will print out the information about why certain mergeinfos could not be elided (possibly providing you with the necessary information to correct some invalid/incorrect mergeinfo entries which might have built up over time).

As said above: I cannot emphasize enough to be careful with using that tool atm. While I've personally been playing around with it for over two years now, it might still contain undetected issues/bugs.

If you wanna give it a quick try and are running on Windows, there are prebuilt binaries available for MaxSVN (disclaimer: that's a development binary distribution of SVN I'm maintaining): http://www.luke1410.de/typo3/index.php?id=97. Download MaxSVN trunk-dev-r1771118-1 and run svn-mergeinfo-normalizer contained in the package. I'm not aware of other prebuilt sources of the current SVN development branch (otherwise I'd have listed them here as other examples).

On a more general note on your questions:
Is it safe to do that (i.e. remove the entries for obsolete/removed branches)?

Kind of. If your working process means that you are not going to reinstate the removed branch in a future revision again to merge remaining revision from it to some other branch, I'd personally consider it a safe habit to drop the then obsolete mergeinfos. If your work process differs, you should not remove it though IMO, since then you might cause conflicts on merges and also lose the information about what was merged of the other branch (if it later is reinstated).

Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

That depends on how your merge process goes and how previous merges were done. Simply speaking, I'd suggest to remove the obsolete mergeinfos from any branch (not only trunk or specific development branches). Not doing so can reinstate the removed obsolete mergeinfos again (due to following merge operations). Another situation you would prevent by completely removing obsolete branches from the entire repository are mergeconflicts which can occur if you merge the revision where the obsolete branch was removed from into another branch.

-- 
Regards,
Stefan Hett
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Thomas Wicklund-2
In reply to this post by Alfred von Campe
On 5/31/2017 9:18 AM, Alfred von Campe wrote:
After many years of development, we have over 100 entries in the svn:mergeinfo property of our trunk.  I am thinking about manually editing the property to remove entries for all branches that have been deleted or are no longer used (and should be deleted).  I am hoping that once I merge trunk into the other active branches, the cleanup of that property will also propagate to the other branches.

So my questions are:

  • Is this safe to do?
  • Will the changes to the properly be merged to all other branches over time as one would expect?

Thanks,
Alfred


I have done this in the past. mergeinfo got so large it was visibly hurting performance. There may have also been svn command crashes but it's been several years. I just deleted the mergeinfo property, starting over.

If you are basically merging from branches back to a development trunk the lack of mergeinfo shouldn't hurt. Do watch that the next time you merge a branch into the trunk it doesn't merge the whole huge mergeinfo back into the branch.

Personally I've never had much use for mergeinfo. Since the development model I work with is to create a branch, make changes, then commit the branch changes into the trunk, I generally revert any mergeinfo change during the merge before committing the change to the trunk since the fact something was done in a branch (which won't be reused) isn't useful information, each change looks like it was developed and committed onto the trunk.

Tom
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
In reply to this post by Stefan Hett-2
Stefan:

I'm regularly using the svn mergeinfo normalizer myself. It should suit your requirements quite well, but you'd be aware that it hasn't been tested thoroughly by a lot of people, since it's a new tool in the not yet released 1.10 development branch.

I will test out this tool.  However, we are running on CentOS 6.9 and I may not be able to get all its dependencies installed.

To get some basic documentation about what the tool does, best start with the integrated help (svn-mergeinfo-normalizer help).
In your case all you might actually need is to run "svn-mergeinfo-normalizer normalize --remove-obsoletes" followed by committing the changes. Carefully verify the changes before committing them. As said: The tool hasn't gotten much test coverage by a broader audience yet.

Yes, I am very careful about inspecting all changes before committing a change.

If you wanna give it a quick try and are running on Windows, there are prebuilt binaries available for MaxSVN (disclaimer: that's a development binary distribution of SVN I'm maintaining): http://www.luke1410.de/typo3/index.php?id=97. Download MaxSVN trunk-dev-r1771118-1 and run svn-mergeinfo-normalizer contained in the package. I'm not aware of other prebuilt sources of the current SVN development branch (otherwise I'd have listed them here as other examples).

If I can’t get the tool running on our Linux systems, I will definitely check this out.

On a more general note on your questions:
Is it safe to do that (i.e. remove the entries for obsolete/removed branches)?

Kind of. If your working process means that you are not going to reinstate the removed branch in a future revision again to merge remaining revision from it to some other branch, I'd personally consider it a safe habit to drop the then obsolete mergeinfos. If your work process differs, you should not remove it though IMO, since then you might cause conflicts on merges and also lose the information about what was merged of the other branch (if it later is reinstated).

We don’t plan to ever reuse those branches again, and in fact most of them will be deleted.

Thanks again for all your comments.  I’ll report back with my findings when I get a chance to run this tool sometime later this week.

Alfred

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Daniel Shahaf-2
Alfred von Campe wrote on Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:21 -0400:
> Stefan Hett:
> > If you wanna give it a quick try and are running on Windows, there are prebuilt binaries available for MaxSVN (disclaimer: that's a development binary distribution of SVN I'm maintaining):http://www.luke1410.de/typo3/index.php?id=97 <http://www.luke1410.de/typo3/index.php?id=97>. Download MaxSVN trunk-dev-r1771118-1 and run svn-mergeinfo-normalizer contained in the package. I'm not aware of other prebuilt sources of the current SVN development branch (otherwise I'd have listed them here as other examples).
> >
> If I can’t get the tool running on our Linux systems, I will definitely check this out.

'make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer' will build the tool.  It can be run
in-tree, or you can run 'make install-tools' to install it.

(I don't see this info in README/INSTALL, although it should be there...)
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
On Jun 5, 2017, at 14:14, Daniel Shahaf wrote:

> 'make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer' will build the tool.  It can be run
> in-tree, or you can run 'make install-tools' to install it.

Hmm, I don’t see a Makefile in ^/subversion/trunk/tools/client-side/svn-mergeinfo-normalizer
or its immediate parent directories, so I checked out the entire Subversion trunk, and then
had to do a “sh autopen.sh” followed by ./configure.  Now it’s complaining about “no suitable
APR found”.  I think I’m going down a bit of a rathole…  I don’t need/want to build all of
Subversion; I really only want to check out the svn-mergeinfo-normalizer tool.

Alfred

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Daniel Shahaf-2
Alfred von Campe wrote on Mon, 05 Jun 2017 16:34 -0400:

> On Jun 5, 2017, at 14:14, Daniel Shahaf wrote:
>
> > 'make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer' will build the tool.  It can be run
> > in-tree, or you can run 'make install-tools' to install it.
>
> Hmm, I don’t see a Makefile in ^/subversion/trunk/tools/client-side/svn-mergeinfo-normalizer
> or its immediate parent directories, so I checked out the entire Subversion trunk, and then
> had to do a “sh autopen.sh” followed by ./configure.  Now it’s complaining about “no suitable
> APR found”.  I think I’m going down a bit of a rathole…  I don’t need/want to build all of
> Subversion; I really only want to check out the svn-mergeinfo-normalizer tool.

What you need to run is:

./autogen.sh && ./configure && make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer

You do need APR libraries for that.  (Install the 'apr-dev' package.)

The Makefile you were looking for would be this:

    cc -o svn-mergeinfo-normalizer -I ${prefix}/include/apr-1.0/ -I ${prefix}/include/subversion-1/ -L /usr/lib -Wall -lsvn_{client,wc,ra,delta,diff,subr}-1 -lapr-1  *.c -I ${svnbuildtree}/subversion -I ${svnsrctree}/subversion/include/ && LD_LIBRARY_PATH=${prefix}/lib ./svn-mergeinfo-normalizer --help

... but this command requires ${svnbuildtree} to be to a directory you ran configure in.  
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Daniel Shahaf-2
[ Sorry, hit 'send' by accident. ]

Daniel Shahaf wrote on Mon, 05 Jun 2017 21:08 +0000:

> What you need to run is:
>
> ./autogen.sh && ./configure && make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer
>
> You do need APR libraries for that.  (Install the 'apr-dev' package.)
>
> The Makefile you were looking for would be this:
>
>     cc -o svn-mergeinfo-normalizer -I ${prefix}/include/apr-1.0/ -I ${prefix}/include/subversion-1/ -L /usr/lib -Wall -lsvn_{client,wc,ra,delta,diff,subr}-1 -lapr-1  *.c -I ${svnbuildtree}/subversion -I ${svnsrctree}/subversion/include/ && LD_LIBRARY_PATH=${prefix}/lib ./svn-mergeinfo-normalizer --help
>
> ... but this command requires ${svnbuildtree} to be to a directory you ran configure in.  

s/to be to/to be pointed to/.  That -I${svnbuildtree} directive is
  required in order to find svn_config_private.h.

The recommended/supported way is the first one: to install the apr-dev packages and run configure.

Daniel
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
In reply to this post by Daniel Shahaf-2
On Jun 5, 2017, at 17:08, Daniel Shahaf wrote:

> What you need to run is:
>
> ./autogen.sh && ./configure && make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer
>
> You do need APR libraries for that.  (Install the 'apr-dev' package.)

It took a while to get all dependencies sorted out on CentOS 6 (BTW, it’s
apr-devel on Red Hat/CentOS), but I finally was able to run the configure
and make.  But now I am encountering the following issue at run time:

  $ svn-mergeinfo-normalizer --help
  svn: E200019: Version mismatch in 'svn_gnome_keyring' (expecting equality): found 1.9.4, expected 1.10.0-dev

I really don’t want/need to get everything on this system up to version
1.10; is there a way around this?

Alfred

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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Daniel Shahaf-2
Alfred von Campe wrote on Tue, 06 Jun 2017 13:36 -0400:

> On Jun 5, 2017, at 17:08, Daniel Shahaf wrote:
>
> > What you need to run is:
> >
> > ./autogen.sh && ./configure && make svn-mergeinfo-normalizer
> >
> > You do need APR libraries for that.  (Install the 'apr-dev' package.)
>
> It took a while to get all dependencies sorted out on CentOS 6 (BTW, it’s
> apr-devel on Red Hat/CentOS), but I finally was able to run the configure
> and make.  But now I am encountering the following issue at run time:
>
>   $ svn-mergeinfo-normalizer --help
>   svn: E200019: Version mismatch in 'svn_gnome_keyring' (expecting equality): found 1.9.4, expected 1.10.0-dev
>
> I really don’t want/need to get everything on this system up to version
> 1.10; is there a way around this?

The runtime linker finds libsvn_gnome_keyring.so in /usr/lib, rather
than the one in the build tree.

Your options include:

- Link statically.  (--enable-all-static to configure)

- Set LD_LIBRARY_PATH as in my 'manual' example.  (If running from the
  build tree, I think you'll need to point it to subversion/libsvn_*/.libs/;
  if running from an installed tree, point it to ${prefix}/lib.)

- Run the executable as 'libtool --mode=execute ./svn-mergeinfo-normalizer'.
  (There'll be a 'libtool' script in the root of the build tree.)

- Pass --prefix to configure, then run 'make install-tools', and run the
  binary from ${prefix}/bin/svn-tools/ rather than from the build tree.

- (included for completeness) Temporarily move /usr/lib/libsvn*.so out
  of the way while testing.

Daniel
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
On Jun 6, 2017, at 13:56, Daniel Shahaf wrote:

> The runtime linker finds libsvn_gnome_keyring.so in /usr/lib, rather
> than the one in the build tree.

OK, that makes sense (I think).

> Your options include:
>
> - Link statically.  (--enable-all-static to configure)

When I first tried this I was getting a link error because it couldn’t find
/usr/lib/libapr-1.a.  But somehow now the problem went away, and even after
doing a “svn cleanup —-delete-ignored” and running autopen.sh and ./configure
again without the —-enable-all-static option) I am getting a statically
linked binary.   Weird, but at the moment irrelevant to my next problem.

> - Set LD_LIBRARY_PATH as in my 'manual' example.  (If running from the
>  build tree, I think you'll need to point it to subversion/libsvn_*/.libs/;
>  if running from an installed tree, point it to ${prefix}/lib.)

There was no keyring library in the output of “ldd” when I the binary was
linked dynamically.

> - Run the executable as 'libtool --mode=execute ./svn-mergeinfo-normalizer'.
>  (There'll be a 'libtool' script in the root of the build tree.)

That didn’t work for me.

> - Pass --prefix to configure, then run 'make install-tools', and run the
>  binary from ${prefix}/bin/svn-tools/ rather than from the build tree.

I did this, and I can run the svn-mergeinfo-normalizer tool now without
setting PATH or LD_LIBRARY_PATH to my prefix directory.  However, when I
run the tool on an existing sandbox, I get the following error:

  Scanning working copy /scratch/sandbox/XXX//trunk ...
  svn: E170000: Unrecognized URL scheme for 'https://svn.xxx.com/hepd/XXX/trunk'

I thought perhaps I needed to check out a fresh sandbox with the newly
build 1.10 svn binaries, but I get the same error.  I guess I need to
pass some additional options to ./configure?

> - (included for completeness) Temporarily move /usr/lib/libsvn*.so out
>  of the way while testing.

I didn’t want to try this.
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Daniel Shahaf-2
Alfred von Campe wrote on Tue, 06 Jun 2017 14:45 -0400:

> On Jun 6, 2017, at 13:56, Daniel Shahaf wrote:
> > - Pass --prefix to configure, then run 'make install-tools', and run the
> >  binary from ${prefix}/bin/svn-tools/ rather than from the build tree.
>
> I did this, and I can run the svn-mergeinfo-normalizer tool now without
> setting PATH or LD_LIBRARY_PATH to my prefix directory.  However, when I
> run the tool on an existing sandbox, I get the following error:
>
>   Scanning working copy /scratch/sandbox/XXX//trunk ...
>   svn: E170000: Unrecognized URL scheme for 'https://svn.xxx.com/hepd/XXX/trunk'
>
> I thought perhaps I needed to check out a fresh sandbox with the newly
> build 1.10 svn binaries, but I get the same error.  I guess I need to
> pass some additional options to ./configure?

Yes: --with-serf=/usr

You'll need to install a (sufficiently recent version of) serf-devel.

Daniel
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Re: Is it safe to remove deleted and no longer used branches from the svn:mergeinfo property?

Alfred von Campe
On Jun 6, 2017, at 16:10, Daniel Shahaf wrote:

> Yes: --with-serf=/usr
>
> You'll need to install a (sufficiently recent version of) serf-devel.

Yes, that worked even on CentOS 6 -- thanks!  I was able to build the tool
and it cleaned up the svn:mergeinfo property exactly as I had expected.

I can also now build the Subversion binaries from source, which may come
in handy some day.

Thanks again for all your help,
Alfred