Subversive vs. Subclipse

I am a bit frustrated right now. Last week I installed Eclipse 3.4 and I thought, now it is a good time to give Subversive a try, since it is the “official” subversion client now. I am using Subclipse for years now, and it was working very well and smoothly til today. Here are my experiences using Subversive with Native JavaHL connector (Eclipse 3.4 on Windows Vista together with an existing Subversion repository):

  • I destroyed accidentally the src/* directories of many of my projects in the trunk of my subversion repository. I don’t know what I did wrong, because on the client-side everything looked fine to me (And I did exactly what Subversive recommends about reconnecting svn working copies checked out with another client). I only realized the deletion of the source folders when I wanted to check out the projects from another machine. I googled about that strange behavior and found out that I was not the first one who destroyed the src directories…
  • Then I fixed the repository from a recent tag, and checked out all projects into a clean workspace using Subversive. Now I am having problems with the bin directories. I don’t know why, but Subversive thinks that some of my Java files are in the bin directory on the server, but of course they are not. I got error messages like: 0x00000004: The resource is inaccessible: /com.siemens.ct.mp3m/bin/com/siemens/ct/mp3m/ When I open the synchronize view I also see Java files in the svn repository’s bin sub-directory (which don’t exist in the repository)

Probably I just don’t use Subversive the right way or I should try another connector, but right now, I want to switch back to Subclipse. I am wondering if others have similar experiences using Subversive + native JavaHL and Eclipse 3.4 on Vista. Or, I would appreciate any tips how to make it work like I would expect.

This Post Has 33 Comments

  1. Rich Scott


    I have been using Subversive, native JavaHL (V1.5) and eclipse 3.4 for a couple of months without problems. I am running on XP so that is different. I had to switch to V1.5 of javaHL due to a problem, but I don’t remember the details. I am sure that it did not involve a repository corruption. I think it may have been an API consistency issue with Buckminster or Mylyn.

  2. Kai Tödter


    Probably I give JavaHL 1.5.0 a try. Since v1.5.0 is RC5 and not final, I used JavaHL 1.4.5 for my tests.

  3. Scott Rosenbaum

    I tried out Subversive for a couple of days and it was not at the “It Just Works” level that I have experienced with Subclipse. So I went back to Subclipse. Seems to work fine in 3.4.

  4. Scott Kellicker


    I’m running Subversive, Eclipse 3.4 and SVNKit 1.1.7 on XP. I found svnkit to be better integrated with Eclipse than JavaHL, mostly because it will check in changes across many projects as a single checkin.

    I have not seen the same problems you have, but periodically I have the bin directory showing up in the synchronize view as changed (when it should not). Trying to synchronize or add it to svn:ignore generates a svn error (the code which I do not remember). I did not have this problem in Eclipse 3.3.

  5. Max Gilead

    First, I’d recommend using SVNKit as a cross-platform library.

    Second, it’s true that Subversive is having usability problems since it moved to Eclipse incubator. Back when it was a Polarion product it just worked.

    Also, one thing that I suggest to anyone is to check in everything using whatever SVN client you’ve been using, then remove projects and check out fresh copy using new Subversion.

  6. Jochen Wiedmann

    I followed the Ganymede release train over the last year. In other words, I reinstalled Eclipse quite frequently. At some point I decided to give Subversive a try, because I expected it to be easier to install, as it is available from the Ganymede site.

    Well, first thing to note: It isn’t easier to install, it requires an additional step, because (for unknown reasons) the so-called connectors are available from a completely different site. In other words, I need to configure an update site anyways.

    Using subversive was okay. I noted very few differences. (Most possibly an indicator that I am actually using very few subversion features only.) To be honest, I couldn’t even tell whether I was using Subversive or a new version of Subclipse.

    What drove me finally back into the arms of Subclipse: It could be installed into *any* Eclipse version all the time. Subversive, however, was frequently suffering from dependency problems and wasn’t installable.

  7. Albert Strasheim

    I’ve been using Subclipse for a long time, and like you, I also figured I should switch to Subversive because it was somehow official. However, I found Subversive too hard to use so I’ve reverted to Subclipse and live is good again.

  8. Michael Scharf

    I was not able to get subversive to run. So I am back to subclipse, which simply runs out of the box. What annoys me, is when I install both, they both use the same labels like SVN perspective and it is close to impossible to use them in parallel….


  9. Mark Phippard


    With the latest Subclipse release (1.4.0), JavaHL commits are atomic across multiple projects.


  10. Eugene Kuleshov

    On some operations Subclipse feels subjectively faster then Subversive. But since I am Subclipse committer, I might be biased. 😉

    @Michael I totally agree with you. Subclipse been there for years and I raised exactly same concern when Subversive came out. It would be really odd for the first SVN client for Eclipse change its labels and Subversive is still in the incubator since project been proposed in September 2006.

  11. Erkki Lindpere

    I tried to switch Subversive with Ganymede as well, but I have some issues with its usability. I’ll probably switch back to Subclipse.

  12. Gunnar Wagenknecht

    I don’t know if Subversive will ever get out of incubation but the quality really seems be contrary (based on the comments here). SVNKit is usually behind the Subversion releases. Unfortunately, JavaHL suffers from loading issues on some platforms. 🙁

    But anyway, I’m a happy Subclipse user. 🙂 Though, I’m also following this plug-in. 😉

  13. Matthias

    >Probably I just don’t use Subversive the right way

    Great, this is just one of the excuses from a developer. There is NO way that you could use a good peace of software the wrong way and it destroys files without notifying.
    I’m not insisting on this to blame anyone, I just think it is a bad habit. If there is a bug just say so.

  14. Dann Martens

    Well, there seems to be a lot of subjectivity here. When reports contradict each other, the last thing to remember is that this is just another case of clashing tribes.

    Almost three years back, there wasn’t much choice: Subclipse was the only project available which attempted to provide SVN support for Eclipse. At that time the quality of the software was very, very poor indeed. In fact, the situation was so bad that TortoiseSVN was indispensible to get out of the Subclipse thrashing mess.

    When Subversive got on the scene, Subclipse got a very much needed kick in the butt. From my point of view that’s as bad as publicity can get. When shear rivalry becomes the prime motivator to revive development of a faltering project, that’s nothing less than pathetic.

    Subversive always had a much better turnover rate as far as issues are concerned. It provides a much more natural work flow as opposed to Subclipse. And purely subjectively, Subversive is much easier on the eyes (white on black asterisk, anyone? – seriously, ASCII-art icons?).

    I never looked back to Subclipse, because I got burned badly early on. Occasional run-ins with Subclipse always re-affirmed the validity of this choice, even with Ganymede. I’ve supported Subversive and have contributed to it. I would still encourage anyone to do the same.

  15. marko

    @Jochen Wiedmann: The connectors are on a different site for legal reasons. They cannot be published together with Subversive because the Eclipse legal rules don’t allow it with the license they have. And because they are mainly created by a third party the license cannot be changed.

    AFAIR the license issue is also the reason why Subclipse declined from trying to become an official Eclipse project.

    Oh, and BTW: I am using Subversive for about two years and it works good for me. But I never tried Supclipse so I can’t compare the two.

  16. Daniel Le Berre

    I tried to use Subversive a few weeks ago since it was the “official” subversion plugin for eclipse too.

    The separation between the core plugin and the connectors is a big issue from a user point of view: Subversive is much harder to install than subclipse.
    It would have been nice to have an SVN support that works out-of-the-box since SVN is now widely used.

    While I have been using subclipse for two years without big trouble (the only problem is that proxy settings must be set outside eclipse), I was unable to connect properly to my SVN repository using Subversive (I am running under Linux with an SVN client installed).

    So I decided that I will continue to use subclipse instead of subversive.

  17. Eugene Kuleshov

    @Dann did you submitted something about “easier on the eyes” issues to Subclipse that might got lost? As far as I know, Subclipse icon decorations are quite similar to ones from Team/SVN, and there is also 3 options to chose from. I am also not quite sure what you mean by turnover rate, but maybe your experience came from the times before project been supported by Collabnet, which been also one of the reasons why Subclipse code been improved quite a bit.

    Currently Subversive project feels like dead born baby. Unless they will be able to sort out the licensing issues (i.e. implement EPL-compatible SVN client), there isn’t really point for this project to be at Eclipse.

  18. Nicola

    I’ve just tried subversive but after a lot of different tentatives I wasn’t able to make it recognize my already checked out project. Surely my fault but subclipse did it right at the first attempt …

  19. me

    Are there some problems with the connectors at the moment? If i try to install them to eclipse i get this:
    Cannot complete the request. See the details.
    Unsatisfied dependency: [ 2.0.2.I20080801-1500] requiredCapability: org.eclipse.equinox.p2.iu/[0.7.2.I20080801-1500,1.0.0)
    Cannot find a solution where both Match[requiredCapability: org.eclipse.equinox.p2.iu/[0.7.1.I20080612-1500,0.7.1.I20080612-1500]] and Match[requiredCapability: org.eclipse.equinox.p2.iu/[0.7.2.I20080801-1500,1.0.0)] can be satisfied.

  20. Filip Krikava

    Very surprising to hear. I would have said the opposite, I had experienced so many problems with subclipse. Ever since I have switched to subversive everything started to work how it should. The only thing is the installation (that you actually need to update sites). I’m using it on eclipse 3.4 with SVNKit.

  21. Miles Parker

    I just had the exact same issue. Subversive is probably the right client to use, but it still breaks in lots of ways. For one thing, it really really sucks at handling directories that are recreated on client side — which happens for me all of the time because I’m doingcode generation using Eclipse tools. But I don’t know that you can blame this whole thing on Subversive (you can blame the sucky p2 support though) — The fundamental design of svn is IMHO opinion seriously flawed. The idea of keeping metadata in the same directories as the actual repos content is brain-dead. What is wrong with a separate database? The one thign I really miss in the Open Source world is a decent VCS — makes me long for Perforce; fast, well integrated clients, and absolutely bullet proof.

  22. CAS

    Subversive is a decent enough SVN client, but it doesn’t work “out of the box” on Ganymede. Period.

    Nobody cares about the excuses regarding connectors or licenses. Eclipse is free, Java is free, Subversion is free, Subclipse is free… What is the problem with Subversive? What makes them so special?

  23. marko

    CAS: You don’t want to care about licenses but you want to know what makes them special?

    You have to decide: Do you want to understand licence incompatibilities or not? If not: OK, but don’t complaint that you don’t understand.

  24. sTiVo


    I’ve just learned about Subversive. Never heard of it before. I’ve been using Subclipse without complaints, but I am trying to put together an automated build from Eclipse setup using PDEBuild and it was there that I learned about Subversive, which is supposed to have a plugin that corresponds to the plugin for CVS that works with PDEBuild.


    Why the hell are there two competing plugins? So now, if I want to pursue my automated build from Eclipse thing I have to swtich plugins to one that seems to have a bunch of problems? Yecch.

  25. steez

    I recently needed eclipse after 1 year without developping, in ganymede I didnot found subclipse as easily as I used to … so google pointed me to this ~official eclipse svn plugin. I almost blindly followed this `new` way ..

    First, I agree .. Subversive installation is too fine grained, especially for something like a svn plugin .. I’d say that nobody want to spend more than 5 minutes to be able to version his work .. but anyone knowing the eclipse ecosystem knows that plugins install is rarely straightforward so I toggled my zen mode, and finally after half an hour of cross-checking sites / blogs and installation guides, I had it running. Okay fine.

    And then I just learn that subclipse still exists and is absolutely not discontinued. ( yeah I assumed that subversive existence meant that the subclipse project got lost somehow or eaten .. )

    …………………………………………………………….. epic fail*

    Subclipse had ( maybe still has ) a nice feature: it’s anxiosity-free .. For a version control access plugin it’s kinda nice. If you start to pray each time your IDE try to speak to your vcs server .. you basically lost all the purpose of versionning at the same time **whistling.

  26. Niko

    The big point for me:

    Subclipse works out of the box with your existing SVN projects.

    So I didn’t even try to find out what I would have to do to make Subversive work. 🙂

  27. CAS

    MARKO: Actually I do understand software licenses and the reason they’re giving in pretty thin.

    When I said “I don’t care” what I meant by that was: I don’t care how they fix it, just they better fix it or I’m not using it.

    I don’t give my users broken software and then expect them to go out and get “extra-stuff” to make it work. I ship everything my application needs, or I don’t ship.

    Would you?

  28. Andre Dias

    This happened after I excluded a project from the workspace and the repository, respectively, using Eclipse with subversion plugin.
    The solution was achieved when I recreated the missing path, including it as project and into repository, using exactly the same original notations.
    Then I committed the projects which caused the warnings and the messages stopped, but the fake projects were still there.
    I deleted them and closed eclipse.
    When reopened, I checked the same projects and problem had gone.
    I’ve tried the method twice, successfully.

  29. Brill

    I’ve tried both on multiple occasions and hands down, Subclipse is far more stable.
    It does have its quirks, but between the two, Subversive wastes too much of my time too often.

  30. TheTruthHurts

    Subclipse is horrible

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