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I've recently encountered this using TortoiseSVN, but I assume it will be the same for CVS based programs (correct me?).

Out of pure curiosity, is there any reason why the CVS filesystem is case-sensitive? I.e. the following URLS are different:

svn://repo/branches/PROJECT
svn://repo/branches/project

Is there some legacy reason for this? It gets more intriguing on a file basis. If 2 files exist in a directory, lets say ProjectOne.vbp and projectone.vbp, one will overwrite the other in a normal Windows filesystem (or, as I have encountered, throw a cryptic TortoiseSVN database error), but can co-exist peacefully in the repository.

Now obviously it's up to the user to not use ridiculous naming such as the above, but are there any advantages that I'm missing to having case-sensitivity?

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4 Answers

up vote 17 down vote accepted

SVN works on both case sensitive and case insensitive filesystems, so it must assume the most compatible option, which is case sensitivity.

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The non-windows world is dominated by case-sensitive file systems.

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TortoiseSVN is just a Windows front-end to Subversion, which works with a broad range of OSes. Like Rein Henrichs and whatsisname pointed out, most file systems are case sensitive, therefore so is Subversion.

Unfortunately, as you noticed it doesn't play very well with Windows' case insensitive file system.

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With the new SVN 1.7 (and corresponding tortoise) this is no longer the case.

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