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Subclipse Client Setup


Individuals who wish to use Subclipse to access one or more remote Subversion repositories.


To configure Subclipse so that remote Subversion repositories can be reached via the svn+ssh protocol.


Subclipse Client Setup

Assure existence of your private key in OpenSSH format

[If you haven't exchanged keys with the subversion host, cf Prerequisites, above.]

The Subclipse client with the recommended configuration requires that a copy of your private key (the one stored in a secure location on your workstation) be in OpenSSH format. If yours is a Windows machine at UC Berkeley that uses the site-licensed SSH Secure Shell client (SSH2 protocol), you almost certainly generated your key pair using this software, in a format that Subclipse cannot use (i.e., not OpenSSH). If this is the case, you must create a copy of your private key in OpenSSH format that Subclipse can use; other clients will continue to use the SSH2 format key.

To accomplish this, follow the steps below. In the example, your private key is named id_dsa_1024_a - if your key is, in fact, named differently, please make the appropriate substitutions in the instructions below.

  • Locate your private key - the one whose public counterpart has been supplied to IST so it can be associated with your account on the Subversion host machine (, as described in the SSH Key Exchange HowTo on this site.
    • Normally, the private key is located at C:\Documents and Settings\mylogin\Application Data\SSH\UserKeys (substitute your actual login for "mylogin").
    • The private key is the one WITHOUT the .pub extension.
  • Open the private key in a text editor, such as Notepad. It will look something like this (hexadecimal gibberish truncated...):
                ---- BEGIN SSH2 ENCRYPTED PRIVATE KEY ----
                Subject: mySubjectName
                Comment: "1024-bit dsa, some-comment-here, Wed May 2 2007 22:17:39"
                ---- END SSH2 ENCRYPTED PRIVATE KEY ----
  • Open a web browser, and point it at the URL
  • Go back to your text editor, and copy the full text of the private key to the clipboard (generally, to do this you'll select the full text in your editor, and press ctrl-c).
  • Paste (ctrl-v) the full text of the private key into the text-window on the web page at the above-referenced URL.
  • Click the [Submit] button.
  • You will be prompted to save the newly coverted key. Save it to the same directory where your private key is stored, under a name that ends with the characters: _openssh. For example, if your private key is named id_dsa_1024_a, name the converted key id_dsa_1024_a_openssh. Warning: be sure after you save it that there is no extension (e.g., .txt) appended to the filename. (You can enclose your desired filename in quotation marks - e.g., "my-key-openssh" - using most browsers to avoid appending an undesired extension. If an extension is appended to the file you save, rename the file, removing the extension.)

Set Subversion Preferences in Eclipse

  • Navigate to the Subversion preferences in Eclipse (you must first install SubClipse; cf. Prerequisites section, above):
                Window : Preferences : Team : SVN
  • Click the radio button that sets the SVN Interface. For Subclipse 1.2.0, the button is labeled: SVNKit (Pure Java)
  • The configuration location should be left set to the default location (which is the directory C:\Documents and Settings\[-YourWorkstationUserId-]\Application Data\Subversion)

Add repositories in the SVN Repository Exploring view

  • Open the SVN Repository Perspective in Eclipse
                Window : Show View : SVN Repository
  • Right-click in the view, and navigate to New : Repository Location
  • Add the desired repository location. For example, if your user id on the Subversion host is svnuser and the repository you wish to open is /svn/ist-svn/berkeley/projects/my-repo on the server, the connect string might look like this:
  • When presented with a connect dialog:
    • Make sure the username entry is your SVN user id (e.g., svnuser); if it is not, edit this field.
    • Click to select the Use private key authentication radio button
    • Browse to find your OpenSSH-format private key file (e.g., C:\Documents and Settings\[-YourWorkstationUserId-]\Application Data\SSH\UserKeys\id_dsa_1024_a_openssh)
    • Click the Ok button
    • If requested to confirm the SVN author name, give your SVN user id on the Subversion host (e.g., svnuser)
  • Confirm that the repository to which you connected contains the projects (directories and files) you expected.
  • Add additional repository locations as desired.
  • When adding a new repository after closing and restarting Eclipse, you will be prompted again for connect information (private key authentication, private key location) and author name. Once you've been through the process once, successfully connecting, you can click the "Save information" checkboxes on the two dialogs, which will allow you to add repositories in the future without having to re-specify this information.

Using Subclipse

Please see the Subclipse Usage Tips & Tricks page on this site for references to documentation and walk-throughs of some basic repository-access tasks.