Building Subversion 1.4.3 for OS X

UPDATE: Subversion 1.4.3 was released (Release Notes) on Jan 25th, 2007. I’ve updated the instructions here accordingly.

The pre-built Subversion binaries that Metissian generally puts together are running a little behind the times, and Dan Benjamin’s excellent guide to building Subversion from source needs a bit of an update to support 1.4.3. Those are still the sources I’d recommend that you visit in the future; they’re diligent folk indeed.

You, however, are an impatient pioneer. You want to build the latest stable (impatient, not imprudent) Subversion release yourself, right now. This article explains the process.


If you haven’t installed Subversion yet, visit Dan’s guide to building Subversion that I mentioned above, and ensure that you’ve followed the the instructions under the Set Your Path heading. They’re important.

You’ll also need to ensure that you have a recent version of Xcode installed (I’m running 2.4.1). You will get errors if you’re running a sufficiently old version (I’m guessing 2.2 or below).


So, you’re good to go. Simply pop open Terminal and run:

mkdir ~/Desktop/src/
cd ~/Desktop/src/
curl -O
curl -O
tar xvzf ./subversion-1.4.3.tar.gz
tar xvzf ./subversion-deps-1.4.3.tar.gz
cd subversion-1.4.3
./configure --prefix=/usr/local --with-openssl --with-ssl --with-zlib
sudo make install

That last command will require you to enter your password; do so, it’s ok.

That’s it. You’re done.


What? You got an error helpfully informing you that your “C compiler cannot create executables See ‘config.log’ for more details”? I did too.

The answer’s simple: you have either an outdated version of the GCC compiler, or an outdated ln utility. Either way, you need to upgrade your Xcode installation. It’s an absurdly large package that you can grab (for free) from Apple’s Developer Connection. Sign up for an account if you don’t already have one, download the upgrade, install it, reboot for good measure (though logging out and then back in is probably enough), then re-run:

./configure --prefix=/usr/local --with-openssl --with-ssl --with-zlib
sudo make install

That should take care of the issue.