At last my viewable online repositry is working.
This bug was bugging for all of this year so far.
It was not until I tried WebSVN and through their helpful mailing list (Thanks Lübbe!) I discovered it was an ugly permission problem. I recorded the solution in my tips and tricks section.
ViewCVS seems to do a better job of handling all the revisions. So I am using it instead of WebSVN.
Permission problems really suck. I have been using a UNIX type environment for quite so time, and this caught me. It’s amazing to think how much time and energy has been wasted with permissions problems. Especially the sort where you have re-login back in again.
I think a lot of the blame lies in the application. For example Subversion was asking me to recover the repo everytime it (svnserve or something) stumbled on a log with incorrect permissions. It really should have been able to produce a useful error message to indicate a permissions related problem.
After all this pain, I still recommend using Subversion over CVS for source control.
I am using Subversion for maintaining a distributed backup of my home directory with a few simple scripts timed to run updates via a cron job on the 3 or so machines I regularly use.
I maintain another “private” repositry for storing things like personal texed letters, private addresses and passwords that you won’t have access to. :)