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Moving your SVN repositories to Git on BitBucket

Posted by Jussi Savolainen at Nov 11, 2011 10:40 PM |
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So you've finally decided to give a try for Git after years of feeling alright with Subversion. SVN is still great but there are a few undeniable advantages using DVCS such as Git. This is post is about migrating your Subversion codes to Git on BitBucket.

Now that Atlassian comes with free hosting for private Git repositories there's really too great of a tentation to go and try how that would work.

If you're rather small group of developers (five or under), Atlassian's alternative sound tempting when considering one of the big three: Google Code (no private repos), GitHub (all private repos cost something), BitBucket (free private repos for five developers).

We chose BitBucket!

Now the process of migrating SVN to BitBucket Git is actually pretty simple:

Install git and git-svn

So we're assuming you're using Ubuntu or other distribution using apt. If not, just search how to install these packages into your system.

sudo apt-get install git-core git-svn

Convert the usernames

Subversion users are normally listed in


These are simple usernames with now email addresses. In BitBucket all users must have an email address as well. Thus, let's make a authors.txt file listing all your SVN users like this:

username1 = Firstname Lastname <>
username2 = Firstname Lastname <>

Convert a SVN repo to a Git repo

Change the references to the svn repositories (we have it hosted locally) and hit the following command:

git svn clone svn://localhost/svn/myrepo/ -A authors.txt -b branches -T Trunk -t tags my_repo

If you don't have branches or trunk in your repository, use the following:

git svn clone svn://localhost/svn/myrepo/ -A authors.txt my_repo

If you're getting the following error:

Author: (no author) not defined in authors.txt file

Just add this line to your authors.txt

(no author) = none <>

By the way in case you have (as many of us do) svn ignores, you can translate these to Git language as well. Go to the newly created folder and type:

git svn show-ignore -i trunk > .gitignore
git add .gitignore
git commit -m 'Converting svn ignore properties to Git equivalents'

Make a bare Git repository

Go back to the parent folder of my_repo and do the following:

git init --bare my_bare_repo
cd my_bare_repo
git symbolic-ref HEAD refs/heads/trunk
cd ../my_repo
git remote add bare ../my_bare_repo
git config remote.bare.push 'refs/remotes/*:refs/heads/*'
git push bare
cd ../my_bare_repo
git branch -m trunk master

Again, if you didn't have the trunk folder in your repository, the last command will fail. You can instead do the following:

git branch -m git-svn master

Importing your new Git Bare repository to BitBucket

Log into your BitBucket account and create a new repository (my_repo here). Find the route to your repository (where it says git clone http://..., copy the http part).

Now go back to the folder where you have your Git Bare repository, and type the following:

git remote add origin
git push origin master

This will push your repository to BitBucket. Check back to BitBucket and you'll see your SVN history nicely under the BitBucket users you indicated in the authors.txt.


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Dennis says:
Feb 08, 2013 06:04 PM

There is a typo in the git svn clone command, it should be --no-metadata instead of -no-metadata. Thanks for the great tutorial anyways :)

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