How to workaround SVN (subversion) "Invalid character in hex checksum"

After the Ubuntu upgrade earlier this month, my SVN repo stopped working. Any client access (including web page file list) produced the error: “Invalid character in hex checksum”.

This turns out to be a known issue in Ubuntu-land, see:

I’ve filed a support ticket, and Ryan T and Sean H at Dreamhost have been helpful, and they’re working on the problem. Meanwhile, I’ve found a workaround that is Ok For Now. Here’s the steps.

• Tried-but-failed
I thought to recreate the repo by dump- and load-ing it.

svnadmin dump ~/svn/myRepo > myRepo.dump
Also produced “invalid character” error.

• Workaround that worked
I did the following steps get back up and running. Needed to do svnadmin dump on my laptop, with the older svn that was still compatible with my repo files.

  1. dreamhost> tar czvf myRepo.tgz ~/svn/myRepo
  2. laptop> # FTP’d myRepo.tgz down to my laptop
  3. laptop> tar xzvf myRepo.tgz ./misc # just a temp folder
  4. laptop> svnadmin dump ./misc/myRepo > ./misc/myRepo.dump
  5. laptop> # FTP myRepo.dump back up to Dreamhost
  6. dreamhost> # in web panel, made a new repo myRepoPrime
  7. dreamhost> svnadmin load ~/svn/myRepoPrime < myRepo.dump
  8. We’re almost done… svnadmin did not set all the file ownership correctly. They need to be read/writable by dhapache, but some are owned by my user (incorrectly)

  9. dreamhost> chmod -R a+w ~svn/myRepoPrime/* # This is not ideal, obviously! but it gets me through the night.

I suspect DH will have this addressed in the next couple of days, but until then, perhaps this may help you if you’re in the same boat.


Thanks a lot for sharing the workaround. I have made a minor edit to the title to make it easier to find and re-categorized to #howto.

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