svn-bisect(1) Bisect Subversion revisions to find a regression


svn-bisect start [good_rev [bad_rev]]

svn-bisect {good|bad} [rev]

svn-bisect run command

svn-bisect reset

svn-bisect status


svn-bisect helps to automate finding a bug or behavior change in a Subversion working copy. Given an initial "good" revision, with the desired or original behavior, and a newer "bad" revision, with the undesired or modified behavior, svn-bisect will do a binary search through the revision range to find which revision caused the change.

svn-bisect must be initialized in a working copy, with svn-bisect start. It also needs to be given at least one good revision (the baseline) and one bad revision (known modified behavior) revision.


Initializes or reinitializes svn-bisect; optionally takes good and bad revision parameters.
good rev
bad rev
Tells svn-bisect that a revision is good or bad, defining or narrowing the search space. If not specified, revision defaults to the current revision in the working copy. svn-bisect will then update to a revision halfway between the new good and bad boundaries. If this update crosses a point where a branch was created, it switches in or out of the branch.
Resets the working copy to the revision and branch where svn-bisect start was run. In the simple case this is equivalent to rm -r .svn-bisect; svn update, but not if it has crossed branches, and not if you did not start at the HEAD revision. In any case, svn-bisect never keeps track of mixed-revision working copies, so do not use svn-bisect in a working copy that will need to be restored to mixed revisions.
Prints a brief status message.
run command
Runs the bisection in a loop. You must have already defined initial good and bad boundary conditions. Each iteration through the loop runs command as a shell command (a single argument, quoted if necessary) on the chosen revision, then marks the revision as good or bad, based on the exit status of command.


Assume you are trying to find which revision between 1250 and 1400 caused the make check command to fail.

    svn-bisect start 1250 1400
    svn-bisect run 'make check'
    svn-bisect reset


The Subversion command-line program to call (default svn).


The directory containing state information, removed after a successful bisection.


Written by Robert Millan and Peter Samuelson, for the Debian Project (but may be used by others).