repocutter — surgical and filtering operations on Subversion dump files


repocutter [-q] [-r selection] subcommand [-d] [-i]


This program does surgical and filtering operations on Subversion dump files. While it is is not as flexible as reposurgeon(1), it can perform Subversion-specific transformations that reposurgeon cannot, and can be useful for processing Subversion repositories into a form suitable for conversion.

(As a matter of possible historical interest, the reason for the partial functional overlap between repocutter and reposurgeon is that repocutter was first written earlier and became a testbed for some of the design concepts in reposurgeon. After reposurgeon was written, the author learned that it could not naturally support some useful operations very specific to Subversion, and enhanced repocutter to do those.)

In all commands, the -r (or --range) option limits the selection of revisions over which an operation will be performed. A selection consists of one or more comma-separated ranges. A range may consist of an integer revision number or the special name HEAD for the head revision. Or it may be a colon-separated pair of integers, or an integer followed by a colon followed by HEAD.

Normally, each subcommand produces a progress spinner on standard error; each turn means another revision has been filtered. The -q (or --quiet) option suppresses this.

The -d command enabled debug messages on standard error. These are probably only of interest to repocutter developers.

The -i command sets the input source to a specified filename. This is primarilseey useful when running the program under a debugger.

Generally, if you need to use this program at all, you will find that you need to pipe your dump file through multiple instances of it doing one kind of operation each. This is not as expensive as it sounds; with the exception of the reduce subcommand, the working set of this program is bounded by the size of the largest commit metadata item. It does not need to hold the entire repo metadata in memory.

The following subcommands are available:


Without arguments, list available commands. With a command-name argument, show detailed help for that subcommand.


The 'select' subcommand selects a range and permits only revisions in that range to pass to standard output. A range beginning with 0 includes the dumpfile header.


Set a property to a value. May be restricted by a revision selection. You may specify multiple property settings. See the embedded help for syntax details.


Delete the named property. May be restricted by a revision selection. You may specify multiple properties to be deleted. See the embedded help for syntax details.


Rename a property. May be restricted by a revision selection. You may specify multiple properties to be renamed. See the embedded help for syntax details.


enerate a log report, same format as the output of svn log on a repository, to standard output.


Replace the log entries in the input dumpfile with the corresponding entries in a specified file, which should be in the format of an svn log output. Replacements may be restricted to a specified range. See the embedded help for syntax details.


Replace content with unique generated cookies on all node paths matching the specified regular expressions; if no expressions are given, match all paths. Useful when you need to examine a particularly complex node structure.


Delete all operations with Node-path headers matching specified Python regular expressions. Any revision left with no Node records after this filtering has its Revision record removed as well.


Modify Node-path and Node-copyfrom-path headers matching a specified Python regular expression; replace with a given string. The string may contain Python backreferences to parenthesized portions of the pattern. See the embedded help for syntax details.


Renumber all revisions, patching Node-copyfrom headers as required. Any selection option is ignored. Takes no arguments.


Strip revisions out of a dump so the only parts left those likely to be relevant to a conversion problem. See the embedded help for syntax details and the relevance filter.


Render a very condensed report on the repository node structure, mainly useful for examining strange and pathological repositories. File content is ignored. You get one line per repository operation, reporting the revision, operation type, file path, and the copy source (if any). Directory paths are distinguished by a trailing slash. The 'copy' operation is really an 'add' with a directory source and target; the display name is changed to make them easier to see.


Swap the top two components of every path. This is sometimes useful when converting a multi-project Subversion repository that has normal trunk/branch/tag structure under each top-level directory (of course the alternative is to break it into componebts using multiple strip operations).


Under the name snvcutter, an ancestor of this program traveled in the contrib/ director of the Subversion distribution. It had functional overlap with reposurgeon(1) because it was directly ancestral to that code. It was moved to the reposurgeon(1) distribution in January 2016.

This program was ported from Python to Go in Aygust 2018, at which time the obsolete "squash" command was retired.


There is one regression since the Python version: repocutter no longer recognizes Macintosh-syle line endings consisting of a carriage return only. This may be addressed in a future version.

Because the native Go regular-expression library declines to support backreferences (in order to scale better) the regexps in the pathrename comand are implemented using a third-party library that supports Perl regular-expression syntax. Neither are exactly identical to the Python regexps supported in older versions.




Suppose you have a Subversion repository with the following semi-pathological structure:

Directory1/ (with unrelated content)
Directory2/ (with unrelated content)

You want to transform the dump file so that TheAppIWantToMigrate can be subject to a regular branchy lift. A way to dissect out the code of interest would be with the following series of filters applied:

repocutter expunge '^Directory1' '^Directory2'
repocutter pathrename '^TheDirIWantToMigrate/' ''
repocutter expunge '^branches/crazy-feature/UnrelatedApp1/
repocutter pathrename 'branches/crazy-feature/TheAppIWantToMigrate/' 'branches/crazy-feature/'
repocutter expunge '^tags/v1.001/UnrelatedApp1/'
repocutter expunge '^tags/v1.001/UnrelatedApp2/'
repocutter pathrename '^tags/v1.001/TheAppIWantToMigrate/' 'tags/v1.001/'
repocutter expunge '^trunk/UnrelatedApp1/'
repocutter expunge '^trunk/UnrelatedApp2/'
repocutter pathrename '^trunk/TheAppIWantToMigrate/' 'trunk/'


The sift and expunge operations can produce output dumps that are invalid. The problem is copyfrom operations (Subversion branch creations). If an included revision includes a copyfrom reference to an excluded one, the reference target won't be in the emitted dump; it won't load correctly in either Subversion or reposurgeon. Attempts to be clever about this won't work; the problem is inherent in the data model of Subversion.

In steeams with mergeinfo properties, renumbering will not fix them up. This means merge data will be lot or garbled. This may be fixed in a future release.


Eric S. Raymond . This tool is distributed with reposurgeon; see the project page at