My Travels with Apache, Subversion and Windows XP Pro 64bit

A few days I completed an installation of Subversion on Windows XP Pro 64. Subversion usually a pretty easy set up. In this case I was setting up subversion on an XP Pro 64 bit OS and there was an annoying wrinkle to the process.

I didn't know much about 64 bit windows, just that it could supposedly run 32 bit applications with no problem. (You know backward compatibility and all that bollocks). At this point, I wasn't much worried about incompatibilities, seemed like a piece of cake.

I bought a subversion book from Borders. (Yes, I know there is a free one online... (Yes, I know it's the same book, but updated... I just happen to get distracted reading books online. I might start looking at Subversion then end up somewhere totally different a few hours later. I think the feel of paper, the smell of book glue helps keep me focused. Call me old fashioned, a Luddite, whatever you wish. ). Step one for installing Subversion is to load and configure Apache 2.x.

view plain print about
1I promptly load the most up to date Apache 2.2 release and start installing <a href="">Subversion</a>. Whoops... an error....
When the book was written, there was no Apache 2.2. Strictly speaking the term Apache 2.x should very well include Apache 2.2. I can't fault the books authors for the lack of clarity in their crystal ball.

So after some searching around, (When in doubt, Google it), it seemed official enough that Subversion does not work on Apache 2.2. I was surprised, considering some of the same people behind the original Apache Project are the ones in charge of Subversion. They know of one another.

Well, I am sure they are working on it. The show must go on so I remove Apache 2.2, download Apache 2.0.59 ( the latest Apache 2.0 ) and install that.

Well, not quite install. the installation didn't work at all. As soon as the installer initialized, the program started throwing cryptic, nonsensical, numeric error messages.

I uninstalled Apache 2.0.59 figuring my download might have gotten corrupted. After downloading from another mirror, I run the installer to the same result. Errors. AGGHHH!

At that point, I started poking around on Papa Internet for some sagely advice. I knew I needed Apache to work as a networked version control. I also knew that Apache 2.2 did not work with Subversion and Apache 2.0.59 did not work with XP Pro 64bit. I found surprisingly little information on this problem on the internet and I started to think there was a problem with this Newfangled XP 64 bit operating system. So many possible links in the chain:

  • Apache installers
  • Subversion dependencies
  • Windows 64 bit issues

    After quite a while, and a good bit of trial and error, I found some references to other applications with installation issues on Windows 64 bit. Seems as some installation programs are actually 16 bit programs. Interestingly, 16bit installers are quite common and Microsoft even goes so far as to create a proxy version of 5 installation programs known to be incompatible in this way. When a program is installed using one of these, the operating system actually switches it for one of its own. Pretty slick, I thought. I am not much a fan of Windows operating systems, but they seem to have gone out of the way on this one.....

    However, I still needed a working Apache installation. In exasperation, I downloaded Apache 2.0.58 and began the install. To my surprise, it worked flawlessly.

    I suspect the installation program in Apache 2.0.59 is either a 16bit installer, or has a flaw in it making it incompatible on the XP 64bit platform. I probably should report this as a bug on the Apache bug tracker.

    I hope this explanation helps someone else through the process.

    Bottom line :

    view plain print about
    1If you wish to install subversion on 64bit windows, go ahead and load Apache 2.0.58 first out of the gate. You will end up doing it eventually....

    There are no comments for this entry.

    Add Comment Subscribe to Comments

    2/4/08 7:20 AM # Posted By Alf

    I have this problem too (Windows Server 2003 - 6 bit)

    3/27/08 1:20 PM # Posted By favorites

    Very interesting article, worthy of attention.
    Added to my bookmarks.
    Thank you.