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Infrastructure/Get a Developer Account

Template:I18n/Language Navigation Bar This tutorial is about how to apply for a SVN account for KDE.


  • The word SVN applies to all SVN servers.
  • The phrase KDE SVN refers only to KDE's SVN server.
  • The phrase anonymous SVN means KDE's anonymous SVN mirrors.

What is KDE SVN?

To have write access to KDE SVN, you have to use the main SVN server of KDE. (Anonymous SVN uses mirrors of this server. SVN does not allow you to read from one server and write to another.)

To be able to use the main KDE SVN server, you need an account there. An account is made up of a username (normally your family name), a password and an email address. The username is for getting in, the password for authenticating and the email address for knowing who to contact if another developer wants to contact the account holder. (The username is sometimes known also as the login.)

Note: you can see the accounts in kde-common/accounts. That is the list of all accounts. Yes, the account list is public, for example on WebSVN.

To access the main KDE SVN, you have two possibilities, with different ways to encrypt transmitted data:

  • using HTTPS
  • using SSH

If you have never used ssh before, you might prefer HTTPS, it's a bit simpler to set up.

However it seems that currently svn-over-ssh is really much faster than svn-over-https, so that is a good reason for using ssh.

The password you will need to create depends on the above:

  • a normal password for accessing by HTTPS, or
  • a SSH public key for accessing by SSH

A KDE SVN account allows you to write to nearly anywhere in the KDE SVN. However, there are exceptions:

  • the KDE SVN internals
  • the admin directory
  • the www module (exceptions can be made for this.)

Who Can Apply For a KDE SVN Account?

Normally, any developer who has done some work on KDE can apply for a KDE SVN account.

Translators should get approval from their team leader so that they can organize how the work is being done in his/her team. Please mention the approval from the team leader when requesting the account.

Please also read the KDE SVN commit policy. You must accept these rules when using your future KDE SVN account.

Also please apply for an account only if you think that you will work on KDE for a somewhat longer time. If you know that you will only work for a couple of weeks and then never again, please consider not applying for a KDE SVN account but still, do continue to send patches.

The limitations are not there to exclude anyone - they are there to ensure that the maintenance of accounts remains reasonable.

Of course, to be clear: the KDE's sysadmins have the last word about whether or not to create a KDE SVN account for somebody.

Choosing a Password

This section assumes that you want access via HTTPS (without SSH). Otherwise skip this section.

First you have to choose a password. If possible, one that you do not use for anything else on your computer (as the SVN account has nothing to do with any other account on your computer.)

In any case, please use common precautions about passwords.

Strong passwords:

  • have both upper and lower case letters.
  • have digits and/or punctuation characters as well as letters.
  • are easy to remember, so they do not have to be written down.
  • are at least eight characters long.

A strong password is not:

  • Personal information such as your name, phone number, social security number, birth date or address. Even names of acquaintances and the like should not be used.
  • Any word in the dictionary, or based closely on such a word (such as a word spelled backwards).
  • A word with letters simply replaced by digits. For example, bl0wf1sh is not a strong password.
  • Easy to spot while you're typing them in. Passwords like 12345, qwerty (i.e., all keys right next to each other), or nnnnnn should be avoided.

All the rules are not here to annoy you but to guarantee a certain level of security for the KDE SVN server.

Getting the Encoded Password

This section assumes that you want access via HTTPS (without SSH). Otherwise skip this section.

Now that you have your password, you need to encode it, not to have to send it in clear in your email. (Note: this encryption is the same type of encryption used by many Linux distributions for their /etc/shadow file.)

If your password is 8 characters long, one way to do this would be using Perl:

perl -e 'print crypt("<your password>","\$1\$xyz\$")."\n";'

where <your password> has to be replaced with your password and xyz with 3 to 8 random characters of your choice. Leave the \$1\$ before it and the \$ after it.

(Hint: $ must be "escaped" with a backslash. For instance: If your password is "abc$123" you have to replace <your password> with "abc\$123". )

Note: do not worry to find your choice of <xyz> at the start of the encoded password, it is meant to be so.

Another solution is to create a dummy account on a Unix system where you have administrator access. You can use the built-in user management programs of your distribution and search for the account in your file /etc/shadow or you can use the following code:

useradd dummy; passwd dummy; grep dummy /etc/passwd /etc/shadow; userdel dummy

In any case, the password is then the part between the first ':' and the second ':'. (Note: not a star! (*) That means that it is not the password!)

Save the encoded password so that you can use it later in the email.

Getting the SSH keys

This section assumes that you want access via SSH (not with HTTPS). Otherwise skip this section.

Please refer to a SSH documentation or book to see how to create a pair of SSH keys, the short version is ssh-keygen -t dsa.

The '-t dsa' indicates that 'dsa' type keys should be created. Rsa keys are used in version 2 of the SSH protocol. See the ssh documentation for more. Accept the default filename and the default of no passphrase.

You need a SSH public key. Don't send us a GPG (OpenPGP) key, that is completely unrelated!

The password in the sense of this documentation is the public key that you are creating. The public key can usually be found at $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa.pub.

Do not email the private key at $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa, it has to remain a secret.

You should also set up ssh-agent so you do not have to type the password every time. There are several tutorials available explaining how to do this, for example this one.

If you want to use SVN with SSH with another user than the one who created the keys, you need to copy $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa.pub and $HOME/.ssh/id_dsa to the other user's $HOME/.ssh directory. You should probably also backup those files.

Preparing The Email

Now that you have a password, you need a username for your KDE SVN account. Normally your family name is used. Let us call it username for this example.

You can propose something else if you want. But be careful that one day, you could ask for a KDE email address and this would be the base for your address. For example: [email protected]. (Note, however, that KDE email addresses are not granted so easily anymore, as too many people have ranted with a KDE address and other people thought that it was the official position of the KDE Team. In the meantime, KDE Mail was created for if you need a permanent address.)

So now you have a username and a password. Now the email address: you have to use your own (be it a normal address or a KDE Mail address). Of course, do not forget that this email address becomes public (at least by WebSVN) so you will unfortunately get spam.

Also note that this email address should be the same one that you use on bugs.kde.org. If you don't have one, please create it so that it can be given usual developer rights. Closing bug reports with keywords in commit comments only works if the email address of your Subversion and bugs.kde.org accounts match.

Now you are ready to send your email to ask for a KDE SVN account.

So make sure the following is in your requesting mail:

  • your full name (first name + last name, for example Joe Smith)
  • your email address
  • the account name (normally the family name; we usually don't use nicknames for account names)
  • the encoded password or SSH public key depending on the chosen protocol
  • a concise justification for needing a SVN account

Hint: the concise justification means mainly what do you want to do with your future KDE SVN account, like for examples developing a certain application, making documentations, being team leader of a translation...

Now please check again that you have done it all right. (Remember people will receive your email. They get hundreds of emails per day, so help them by doing it correctly if possible). Then send your email to KDE's sysadmins.

And Now?

After having sent the email, you have to wait for the answer (typically the next working day (Monday to Friday), Central European day time (UTC+1 in winter, UTC+2 in summer).

Once you have confirmation that your account has been created, you need to adapt your local copy to the new server. See the next tutorial for your first steps with your new account.

Please add your geographical location (what country are you in?) and other details at the Commit Digest data page so that the Commit Digest can accurately reflect who is working where.

This page was last edited on 5 March 2021, at 08:49. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.