Simple shell script to import svn:externals into a local git-svn repository


This is a very simple shell script to make git-svn clone your svn:externals definitions. Place the script in a directory where you have one or more svn:externals definitions, run it, and it will:

  • git svn clone each external into a .git_externals/ directory.
  • symlink the cloned repository in .git_externals/ to the proper directory name.
  • add the symlink and .git_externals/ to the .git/info/excludes/ file, so that you’re not pestered about it when performing a git status.

That’s pretty much about it. Low-tech and cheap and cheery, but I couldn’t find anything else like it after extensive Googling, so hopefully some other people out there with low-tech minds like mine will find this useful.

You could certainly make the script a lot more complex and do things such as share svn:externals repositories between different git repositories, traverse through the entire git repository to detect svn:externals definitions instead of having to place the script in the correct directory, etc… but this works, it’s simple, and it does just the one thing, unlike a lot of other git/svn integration scripts that I’ve found. I absolutely do welcome those features, but I figured I’d push this out since it works for me and is probably useful for others.

NB: This assumes you have passwordless svn.



The git-svn-clone-externals script does a great job of cloning the svn:externals. However, in day-to-day work I want to check whether I need to push stuff and update a buch of ‘external’ repositories in one go. Therefore I creates some additional scripts.

  • git-svn-check-unpushed tries to determine whether there are commits which are not yet pushed back to the subversion repository. Originally I took this idea from Magit (an interface to the version control system Git, implemented as an extension to Emacs) and implemented it in Python instead of Lisp.

This script can be run in every location of a git repository.

  • git-svn-externals-check is a script that displays whether there are uncommitted changes or commits that are not pushed to the subversion repository yet. Basically it executes git status and the git-svn-check-unpushed scripts for each directory in the current directory.

This script must be run in the directory where the original svn:externals property was set. It does not walk the complete tree to search for these kind of repositories.

  • git-svn-externals-update complements the git-svn-externals-check script. The update script does an git svn fetch and git svn rebase for every directory in the location where the script is executed.

This script must also be run in the directory where the original svn:externals property was set.

Feel free to use and improve these scripts.


  • External repository’s url can be rewritten, to use SVN+SSH instead of plain HTTP or HTTPS. To do so, do export USE_SSH=yes in your environment. This can be useful if you use ssh authentication, but other developers don’t.

  • If you don’t want to pull all external repositories, you can create a .git_externals_exclude file which contains the local paths to be excluded, one per line, the same way they show up on the first field of git svn show-externals

  • Alexander Artemenko [email protected]

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