Mac OS: Can’t move .svn/tmp/entries to .svn/entries: Operation not permitted

5 Aug 2012

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I’ve recently had a completely new (to me) SVN problem. I’ve been trying to update my SVN working copy from the reposisty and I get this error:

Can’t move ‘.svn/tmp/entries’ to ‘.svn/entries’: Operation not permitted

I’ve tried running the svn cleanup, but no joy. Google is my friend… the fix is to run this command in terminal

cd workingdir
chflags -Rv nouchg .

chflags – Change File Flags command
-R recursive, -v Verbose (tells you which files changed)
nouchg means the file can be changed (immutable bit cleared)

The immutable bit was a new one to me, so I had to go and look that one up as well. When you can’t take the chance of a file getting accidentally munged, you can set the immutable bit. Not even root can delete a file with the immutable bit set, unless they clears the bit first (making accidental removal highly unlikely). Very sensible, and since I’m exactly the kind of person who might accidentally delete whole swaths of files while in root mode, I can really see the point of an immutable bit.

However, I couldn’t work out how or where the immutable bit was being set. More googling … this seems to be a common problem where some developers are using windows & others are using mac os x. Still not sure of the WHY but the context makes sense.

You can’t create a file called CON

13 Aug 2009


Okay, this drove me completely nuts for far too long.  Basically, the subversion repository had a file called con.jpg (and one called aon.jpg, bon.jpg, don.jpg but they weren’t an issue) and this caused massive fail when I tried to do a checkout.

Error message:

Can't open "images\alphabet\con.jpg.tmp": the system cannot find the file specified

I deleted files, folders, parent folders, did a fresh checkout and still no joy. And then I cursed subversion, kicked the cat, threw coffee cups out the window, contemplated throwing the laptop out the window, gnashed my teeth … spent some time googling things, spent more time googling with different keywords.

It appears that you cannot have a file or folders in windows called “con” or “con.jpg” or “con.txt” or basically con anything. This isn’t much advertised but it goes all the way back to early DOS days where con was a reserved system word (short for console) I’d mock microsoft, but then I look over my shoulder at certain historical applications which I’ve written and which are still running andI get embarrassed for myself.  Anyway, we renamed the con.jpg file in the subversion repository.  Everyone else in that team was using Mac/linux so it was just me having weird & wonderful problems.

Getting real with subversion

5 Jun 2007


I’m getting serious about using source control (although you can call it version control if you want to) for my projects.I’ve been using subversion for about a year now, and have had a few applications under source control, but since I’m a sole developer there’s never been the urgency you get in a shared environment. In other words, I’ve never had the kind of major disaster which really convinces a development team to take source control seriously. (Usually happens after one programmer realises that their code has been overwritten and tries to murder the culprit.)
But even on my own I’ve found it very very useful.

  • I like the separation between the repository and my working folder
  • I like being able to get a historical list of changes made. And yes, I do log sensible comments, not just ‘code updated’

So, from now on, all live projects are going into source control.

Eric Sink on Source Control