Migrating from SVN to GitLab

Subversion (SVN) is a central version control system (VCS) while Git is a distributed version control system. There are some major differences between the two, for more information consult your favorite search engine.

If you are currently using an SVN repository, you can migrate the repository to Git and GitLab. We recommend a hard cut over - run the migration command once and then have all developers start using the new GitLab repository immediately. Otherwise, it's hard to keep changing in sync in both directions. The conversion process should be run on a local workstation.

Install svn2git. On all systems you can install as a Ruby gem if you already have Ruby and Git installed.

sudo gem install svn2git

On Debian-based Linux distributions you can install the native packages:

sudo apt-get install git-core git-svn ruby

Optionally, prepare an authors file so svn2git can map SVN authors to Git authors. If you choose not to create the authors file then commits will not be attributed to the correct GitLab user. Some users may not consider this a big issue while others will want to ensure they complete this step. If you choose to map authors you will be required to map every author that is present on changes in the SVN repository. If you don't, the conversion will fail and you will have to update the author file accordingly. The following command will search through the repository and output a list of authors.

svn log --quiet | grep -E "r[0-9]+ \| .+ \|" | cut -d'|' -f2 | sed 's/ //g' | sort | uniq

Use the output from the last command to construct the authors file. Create a file called authors.txt and add one mapping per line.

janedoe = Jane Doe <janedoe@example.com>
johndoe = John Doe <johndoe@example.com>

If your SVN repository is in the standard format (trunk, branches, tags, not nested) the conversion is simple. For a non-standard repository see svn2git documentation. The following command will checkout the repository and do the conversion in the current working directory. Be sure to create a new directory for each repository before running the svn2git command. The conversion process will take some time.

svn2git https://svn.example.com/path/to/repo --authors /path/to/authors.txt

If your SVN repository requires a username and password add the --username <username> and --password <password flags to the above command. svn2git also supports excluding certain file paths, branches, tags, etc. See svn2git documentation or run svn2git --help for full documentation on all of the available options.

Create a new GitLab project, where you will eventually push your converted code. Copy the SSH or HTTP(S) repository URL from the project page. Add the GitLab repository as a Git remote and push all the changes. This will push all commits, branches and tags.

git remote add origin git@gitlab.com:<group>/<project>.git
git push --all origin
git push --tags origin

Contribute to this guide

We welcome all contributions that would expand this guide with instructions on how to migrate from SVN and other version control systems.