Subversion's copy-modify-merge version control model lives and dies on its data merging algorithms—specifically on how well those algorithms perform when trying to resolve conflicts caused by multiple users modifying the same file concurrently. Subversion itself provides only one such algorithm: a three-way differencing algorithm that is smart enough to handle data at a granularity of a single line of text. Subversion also allows you to supplement its content merge processing with external differencing utilities (as described in “外置 diff3”一节), some of which may do an even better job, perhaps providing granularity of a word or a single character of text. But common among those algorithms is that they generally work only on text files. The landscape starts to look pretty grim when you start talking about content merges of non-textual file formats. And when you can't find a tool that can handle that type of merging, you begin to run into problems with the copy-modify-merge model.

让我们看一个使用这个模型的真实例子,Harry和Sally是同一个项目的图形设计师,汽车技工的间接营销。海报的设计一个小车,需要一些主要部分的工作,使用PNG文件格式。海报的布局几乎完成,Harry和Sally都看上了一个从损坏小车得到的特别照片—一个1967的淡蓝色的Ford Mustang,挡泥板有一些溅迹。

Now, as is common in graphic design work, there's a change in plans, which causes the car's color to be a concern. So Sally updates her working copy to HEAD, fires up her photo-editing software, and sets about tweaking the image so that the car is now cherry red. Meanwhile, Harry, feeling particularly inspired that day, decides that the image would have greater impact if the car also appears to have suffered greater impact. He, too, updates to HEAD, and then draws some cracks on the vehicle's windshield. He manages to finish his work before Sally finishes hers, and after admiring the fruits of his undeniable talent, commits the modified image. Shortly thereafter, Sally is finished with the car's new finish and tries to commit her changes. But, as expected, Subversion fails the commit, informing Sally that her version of the image is now out of date.

Here's where the difficulty sets in. If Harry and Sally were making changes to a text file, Sally would simply update her working copy, receiving Harry's changes in the process. In the worst possible case, they would have modified the same region of the file, and Sally would have to work out by hand the proper resolution to the conflict. But these aren't text files—they are binary images. And while it's a simple matter to describe what one would expect the results of this content merge to be, there is precious little chance that any software exists that is smart enough to examine the common baseline image that each of these graphic artists worked against, the changes that Harry made, and the changes that Sally made, and then spit out an image of a busted-up red Mustang with a cracked windshield!

Of course, things would have gone more smoothly if Harry and Sally had serialized their modifications to the image—if, say, Harry had waited to draw his windshield cracks on Sally's now-red car, or if Sally had tweaked the color of a car whose windshield was already cracked. As is discussed in “拷贝-修改-合并 方案”一节, most of these types of problems go away entirely where perfect communication between Harry and Sally exists. [14] But as one's version control system is, in fact, one form of communication, it follows that having that software facilitate the serialization of nonparallelizable editing efforts is no bad thing. This is where Subversion's implementation of the lock-modify-unlock model steps into the spotlight. This is where we talk about Subversion's locking feature, which is similar to the “reserved checkouts” mechanisms of other version control systems.

Subversion 的锁定特性为两个主要目的服务:

  1. 顺序访问资源。允许用户得到一个排他的修改文件权,这个用户可以确定不可合并的修改不会被浪费—他对这个修改的提交会成功。

  2. 辅助交流。通过要求用户对某个版本化对象串行工作,用户可以知道对象正在被别人修改,这样可以防止浪费精力和时间去修改一个不可合并和提交的对象。

When referring to Subversion's locking feature, one is actually talking about a fairly diverse collection of behaviors, which include the ability to lock a versioned file [15] (claiming the exclusive right to modify the file), to unlock that file (yielding that exclusive right to modify), to see reports about which files are locked and by whom, to annotate files for which locking before editing is strongly advised, and so on. In this section, we'll cover all of these facets of the larger locking feature.

Creating Locks

In the Subversion repository, a lock is a piece of metadata that grants exclusive access to one user to change a file. This user is said to be the lock owner. Each lock also has a unique identifier, typically a long string of characters, known as the lock token. The repository manages locks, ultimately handling their creation, enforcement, and removal. If any commit transaction attempts to modify or delete a locked file (or delete one of the parent directories of the file), the repository will demand two pieces of information—that the client performing the commit be authenticated as the lock owner, and that the lock token has been provided as part of the commit process as a sort of proof that client knows which lock it is using.

To demonstrate lock creation, let's refer back to our example of multiple graphic designers working on the same binary image files. Harry has decided to change a JPEG image. To prevent other people from committing changes to the file while he is modifying it (as well as alerting them that he is about to change it), he locks the file in the repository using the svn lock command.

$ svn lock banana.jpg -m "Editing file for tomorrow's release."
'banana.jpg' locked by user 'harry'.

There are a number of new things demonstrated in the previous example. First, notice that Harry passed the --message (-m) option to svn lock. Similar to svn commit, the svn lock command can take comments (either via --message (-m) or --file (-F) to describe the reason for locking the file. Unlike svn commit, however, svn lock will not demand a message by launching your preferred text editor. Lock comments are optional, but still recommended to aid communication.

Secondly, the lock attempt succeeded. This means that the file wasn't already locked, and that Harry had the latest version of the file. If Harry's working copy of the file had been out of date, the repository would have rejected the request, forcing Harry to svn update and reattempt the locking command. The locking command would also have failed if the file had already been locked by someone else.

就像你看到的,svn lock打印了锁定成功的确认信息。此时,通过svn statussvn info的输出我们可以看到文件已经锁定。

$ svn status
     K banana.jpg

$ svn info banana.jpg
Path: banana.jpg
Name: banana.jpg
URL: http://svn.example.com/repos/project/banana.jpg
Repository UUID: edb2f264-5ef2-0310-a47a-87b0ce17a8ec
Revision: 2198
Node Kind: file
Schedule: normal
Last Changed Author: frank
Last Changed Rev: 1950
Last Changed Date: 2006-03-15 12:43:04 -0600 (Wed, 15 Mar 2006)
Text Last Updated: 2006-06-08 19:23:07 -0500 (Thu, 08 Jun 2006)
Properties Last Updated: 2006-06-08 19:23:07 -0500 (Thu, 08 Jun 2006)
Checksum: 3b110d3b10638f5d1f4fe0f436a5a2a5
Lock Token: opaquelocktoken:0c0f600b-88f9-0310-9e48-355b44d4a58e
Lock Owner: harry
Lock Created: 2006-06-14 17:20:31 -0500 (Wed, 14 Jun 2006)
Lock Comment (1 line):
Editing file for tomorrow's release.


The fact that the svn info command, which does not contact the repository when run against working copy paths, can display the lock token reveals an important piece of information about those tokens: they are cached in the working copy. The presence of the lock token is critical. It gives the working copy authorization to make use of the lock later on. Also, the svn status command shows a K next to the file (short for locKed), indicating that the lock token is present.


$ svn delete banana.jpg
D         banana.jpg
$ svn commit -m "Delete useless file."
Deleting       banana.jpg
svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: Server sent unexpected return value (423 Locked) in response to DELETE\
 request for '/repos/project/!svn/wrk/64bad3a9-96f9-0310-818a-df4224ddc35d/\

But Harry, after touching up the banana's shade of yellow, is able to commit his changes to the file. That's because he authenticates as the lock owner and also because his working copy holds the correct lock token:

$ svn status
M    K banana.jpg
$ svn commit -m "Make banana more yellow"
Sending        banana.jpg
Transmitting file data .
Committed revision 2201.
$ svn status

Notice that after the commit is finished, svn status shows that the lock token is no longer present in working copy. This is the standard behavior of svn commit—it searches the working copy (or list of targets, if you provide such a list) for local modifications and sends all the lock tokens it encounters during this walk to the server as part of the commit transaction. After the commit completes successfully, all of the repository locks that were mentioned are released—even on files that weren't committed. This is meant to discourage users from being sloppy about locking or from holding locks for too long. If Harry haphazardly locks 30 files in a directory named images because he's unsure of which files he needs to change, yet changes only 4 of those files, when he runs svn commit images, the process will still release all 30 locks.

自动释放锁定的特性可以通过svn commit--no-unlock选项关闭,当你要提交文件,同时期望继续修改而必须保留锁定时非常有用。这个特性也可以半永久性的设定,方法是设置运行中config文件(见“运行配置区”一节)的no-unlock = yes

当然,锁定一个文件不会强制一个人要提交修改,任何时候都可以通过运行svn unlock命令释放锁定:

$ svn unlock banana.c
'banana.c' unlocked.

Discovering Locks

最明显的方式就是因为锁定而不能提交一个文件,最简单的方式是svn status --show-updates

$ svn status -u
M              23   bar.c
M    O         32   raisin.jpg
       *       72   foo.h
Status against revision:     105

In this example, Sally can see not only that her copy of foo.h is out of date, but that one of the two modified files she plans to commit is locked in the repository. The O symbol stands for “Other,” meaning that a lock exists on the file and was created by somebody else. If she were to attempt a commit, the lock on raisin.jpg would prevent it. Sally is left wondering who made the lock, when, and why. Once again, svn info has the answers:

$ svn info http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg
Path: raisin.jpg
Name: raisin.jpg
URL: http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg
Repository UUID: edb2f264-5ef2-0310-a47a-87b0ce17a8ec
Revision: 105
Node Kind: file
Last Changed Author: sally
Last Changed Rev: 32
Last Changed Date: 2006-01-25 12:43:04 -0600 (Sun, 25 Jan 2006)
Lock Token: opaquelocktoken:fc2b4dee-98f9-0310-abf3-653ff3226e6b
Lock Owner: harry
Lock Created: 2006-02-16 13:29:18 -0500 (Thu, 16 Feb 2006)
Lock Comment (1 line):
Need to make a quick tweak to this image.

就像svn info可以检验工作拷贝的对象,它也可以检验版本库的对象,如果svn info的主要参数是工作拷贝路径,所有工作拷贝的缓存信息都会显示,发现了锁定就意味着工作拷贝拥有锁定令牌(如果一个文件被另一个用户在另一个工作拷贝锁定,工作拷贝路径上运行svn info不会显示锁定信息)。如果svn info的主参数是URL,就会反映版本库中最新版本的对象信息,任何对锁定的提及描述了当前对象的锁定。

So in this particular example, Sally can see that Harry locked the file on February 16th to “make a quick tweak.” It being June, she suspects that he probably forgot all about the lock. She might phone Harry to complain and ask him to release the lock. If he's unavailable, she might try to forcibly break the lock herself or ask an administrator to do so.

Breaking and Stealing Locks

A repository lock isn't sacred—in Subversion's default configuration state, locks can be released not only by the person who created them, but by anyone. When somebody other than the original lock creator destroys a lock, we refer to this as breaking the lock.


$ svnadmin lslocks /var/svn/repos
Path: /project2/images/banana.jpg
UUID Token: opaquelocktoken:c32b4d88-e8fb-2310-abb3-153ff1236923
Owner: frank
Created: 2006-06-15 13:29:18 -0500 (Thu, 15 Jun 2006)
Comment (1 line):
Still improving the yellow color.

Path: /project/raisin.jpg
UUID Token: opaquelocktoken:fc2b4dee-98f9-0310-abf3-653ff3226e6b
Owner: harry
Created: 2006-02-16 13:29:18 -0500 (Thu, 16 Feb 2006)
Comment (1 line):
Need to make a quick tweak to this image.

$ svnadmin rmlocks /var/svn/repos /project/raisin.jpg
Removed lock on '/project/raisin.jpg'.

The more interesting option is allowing users to break each other's locks over the network. To do this, Sally simply needs to pass the --force to the svn unlock command:

$ svn status -u
M              23   bar.c
M    O         32   raisin.jpg
       *       72   foo.h
Status against revision:     105
$ svn unlock raisin.jpg
svn: 'raisin.jpg' is not locked in this working copy
$ svn info raisin.jpg | grep URL
URL: http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg
$ svn unlock http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg
svn: Unlock request failed: 403 Forbidden (http://svn.example.com)
$ svn unlock --force http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg
'raisin.jpg' unlocked.

Sally初始的unlock命令失败了,因为她直接在自己的工作拷贝上运行了svn unlock,而这里没有锁定令牌。为了直接从版本库删除锁定,她需要给svn unlock传递URL参数,她的这一次尝试又失败了,因为她不是锁定的拥有者(也没有锁定令牌)。当她使用了--force选项后,认证和授权的要求被忽略了,远程的锁定被打破了。

当然,简单的打破锁定也许还不够,在这个例子里,Sally不仅想要打破Harry遗忘的锁定,她也希望自己重新锁定。她可以通过运行svn unlock --force紧接着svn lock,但是有可能有人在这两次命令之间锁定了文件,最简单的方式是窃取这个锁定,将打破和重新锁定变成一种原子操作,为此需要运行svn lock--force选项:

$ svn lock raisin.jpg
svn: Lock request failed: 423 Locked (http://svn.example.com)
$ svn lock --force raisin.jpg
'raisin.jpg' locked by user 'sally'.

在任何情况下,无论锁定被打破还是窃取,Harry都会感到惊讶。Harry的工作拷贝还保留有原来的锁定令牌,但是锁定已经不存在了,锁定令牌可以说已经死掉了。锁定令牌指代的锁定被打破(版本库中不再存在)或者是窃取了(被另一个锁定代替了),任何一种情况下,Harry都可以使用svn status询问版本库:

$ svn status
     K raisin.jpg
$ svn status -u
     B         32   raisin.jpg
$ svn update
  B  raisin.jpg
$ svn status

如果版本库锁定被打破了,svn status --show-updates会在文件旁边显示一个B (Broken)。如果有一个新的锁,就会显示一个T (sTolen)符号。最终,svn update会注意到所有死掉的锁定并且把它们从工作拷贝中删除掉。


我们已经见到了如何利用svn locksvn unlock来创建、释放、打破和窃取锁定,这就满足了顺序访问文件的要求,但是浪费时间这个大问题该如何呢?

For example, suppose Harry locks an image file and then begins editing it. Meanwhile, miles away, Sally wants to do the same thing. She doesn't think to run svn status --show-updates, so she has no idea that Harry has already locked the file. She spends hours editing the file, and when she tries to commit her change, she discovers that either the file is locked or that she's out of date. Regardless, her changes aren't mergeable with Harry's. One of these two people has to throw away their work, and a lot of time has been wasted.

Subversion's solution to this problem is to provide a mechanism to remind users that a file ought to be locked before the editing begins. The mechanism is a special property: svn:needs-lock. If that property is attached to a file (regardless of its value, which is irrelevant), then Subversion will try to use filesystem-level permissions to make the file read-only—unless, of course, the user has explicitly locked the file. When a lock token is present (as a result of running svn lock), the file becomes read-write. When the lock is released, the file becomes read-only again.


$ /usr/local/bin/gimp raisin.jpg
gimp: error: file is read-only!
$ ls -l raisin.jpg
-r--r--r--   1 sally   sally   215589 Jun  8 19:23 raisin.jpg
$ svn lock raisin.jpg
svn: Lock request failed: 423 Locked (http://svn.example.com)
$ svn info http://svn.example.com/repos/project/raisin.jpg | grep Lock
Lock Token: opaquelocktoken:fc2b4dee-98f9-0310-abf3-653ff3226e6b
Lock Owner: harry
Lock Created: 2006-06-08 07:29:18 -0500 (Thu, 08 June 2006)
Lock Comment (1 line):
Making some tweaks.  Locking for the next two hours.


Users and administrators alike are encouraged to attach the svn:needs-lock property to any file that cannot be contextually merged. This is the primary technique for encouraging good locking habits and preventing wasted effort.

Note that this property is a communication tool that works independently from the locking system. In other words, any file can be locked, whether or not this property is present. And conversely, the presence of this property doesn't make the repository require a lock when committing.


[14] Communication wouldn't have been such bad medicine for Harry and Sally's Hollywood namesakes, either, for that matter.

[15] Subversion目前不允许锁定目录。

[16] 除非是,或许一个经典的火神精神融合。