How to convert from Subversion to Git

When I was moving EC2 on Rails to Git I found several posts that explained how to convert a repo from svn to Git. But none of them included converting your svn tags to Git tags, so here's yet another how-to guide. (Git experts please comment if I'm doing anything dumb.)

1. Install Git

First, you'll need Git installed with git-svn included (git-svn will actually allow you to push changes back to the original Subversion repository, but for our purposes we're assuming that this is a one-time conversion).

If you're using OS X you should already be using MacPorts, so just do:

prompt> sudo port install git-core +svn

UPDATE 2010: I recommend Homebrew instead of MacPorts

Or, on Ubuntu or Debian Linux:

prompt> sudo apt-get install git-svn

2. Create the authors file

Next, create a text file that maps Subversion committers to Git authors so the names and email addresses will be correct in the history. Save it as authors.txt:

pdowman = Paul Dowman <>
svnuser2 = Another User <>

3. Clone the repository

Now run the command that will import your svn repo into a local Git repo. I'm assuming your svn repo had the standard layout of /trunk, /tags and /branches.

prompt> git svn clone <svn repo url> --no-metadata -A authors.txt -t tags -b branches -T trunk <destination dir name>

Now running git log should show all your commit history with the correct authors.

4. Convert branches to tags

There's one more thing. All your tags are now remote branches, not tags, in your Git repo. So you'll need to convert them manually (or write a script to do it if you have a lot, I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader). For each Subversion tag (i.e. Git remote branch) you'll add it as a Git tag, then delete the remote branch. List them with:

prompt> git branch -r

Then for each tag listed do:

prompt> git tag tagname tags/tagname
prompt> git branch -r -d tags/tagname

You now have a local Git repository with all your history and tags. If you don't need to share it with anyone else then you're done.

5. Push to a public repo (optional)

If you want to publish to a public repository (for example Github), you'll need to add it as a remote repo and then push to it.

prompt> git remote add origin
prompt> git push origin master --tags

You next stop should probably be the Git tutorial for Subversion users. Enjoy!

Categories: Git, Software Development


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