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SubVersion (SVN) for fun and profit

Use SubVersion to tame the pile of drafts for writing, software development, and your other creative tasks. It has the added benefit of giving you easy backups, and allowing you to work from any machine that can ‘see’ your repository. Easy, fun, free!

Lifehacker had a reference to a really excellent posting on “Using SubVersion for Writers.”

This is a really good overview, with examples, of how to use SubVersion for writing, web projects, etc.
I personally use and recommend SubVersion, largely because it support explicit “move this file” “this file is now obsolete” and “add these all together” semantics. The Using SubVersion for Writers posting is an excellent reminder of just how helpful and simple SubVersion is, even for small non-technical writing projects.

Installing on MacOS ‘Leopard’ is trivial: it’s already there. To add a GUI, use either SCPlugin to add a SubVersion menu to Finder, or SubVersion Scripts (here’s a great screencast). It is easy to install SubVersion on earlier versions of OSX, as well.

For Windows, I like TortoiseSVN. On Solaris and Linux (Red Hat, Ubuntu), I tend to use the command line.

For reference material, see the “Red Bean book” SubVersion.


By Dak

Father, leader, writer, scientist, visionary.

Technical software development leader (CTO, VP). Excels when improving and turning around teams, putting better tools and software architectures in place, and getting better outcomes.

3 replies on “SubVersion (SVN) for fun and profit”

Thanks, Benton. The idea is that you would use a file repository to save your ‘works in progress’…think of it as an ‘undo’ for entire versions of files. This is something that software developers use all the time, but which writers and other creative professionals haven’t taken advantage of.


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