For quite a while the Ubuntu subversion package suffer from bad user certificates that do not follow the standards strictly. In case you have to authenticate with such a certificate subversion will return such an error message:

OPTIONS of '<url>': SSL handshake failed: SSL error: Key usage violation in certificate has been detected. (<url>)

The root of this problem is that the Ubuntu packages link against libneon-gnutls, which handles certificates in a stricter way than libneon. A easy workaround in the past was to simply replace a replace the library link of libneon-gnutls to point to libneon:

sudo mv /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
sudo ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

However once you do this in Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin you will get a another error message instead:

OPTIONS of <url>': SSL handshake failed: SSL disabled due to library version mismatch (<url>)

After quite some googling it turned out that there is a bug in the version of libneon bundled with Precise that causes this problem. Fortunately this is already fixed with version 0.29.3. To get back to a working subversion perform these steps:

  1. Uninstall the current libneon package:
    sudo apt-get remove libneon27>
  2. Download the latest libneon package from  (at the bottom you can choose the right version for your architecture).
  3. Install the required libssl dependency:
    sudo apt-get install libssl0.9.8
  4. Install the downloaded libneon package. E.g. for the 64Bit architecture:
    dpkg -i libneon27_0.29.3-3_amd64.deb
  5. Change the symbolic links again like described above:
    sudo mv /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/
    sudo ln -s /usr/lib/ /usr/lib/

And finally subversion should be working again.


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    #1 Olivier on 05/03/12 at 10:39 PM
    *Thanks for the tip. However instead of moving libneon, you may want to create an alias in your .bashrc like:
    alias svn='LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/ svn'

    It works as well

    #1.1 Carsten Schlipf on 05/03/12 at 11:21 PM
    *Thank you for the tip. That's obviously a safer workaround than changing the links.
    #2 Rich on 06/07/12 at 07:43 AM
    *Wow, thanks. Was getting sick of all the pre 12.04 answers out there for this.
    #3 Samundra on 06/22/12 at 07:13 AM
    *Perfectly worked for me :-) Thanks for the info.
    #4 Dmitry Borody on 07/14/12 at 10:53 AM
    *Thank you! Helped me much.
    #5 Quetzacotl on 07/24/12 at 12:37 PM
    *it worked for my, but every time I restart system I have to do it again. Can I make it permanent?
    #5.1 Carsten Schlipf on 07/24/12 at 01:19 PM
    *I have the same problem. Other than adding these commands to your .profile (so that these will be executed on every logon) I have no idea. Also wenn you install update packages you have to reinstall the other libneon package.
    #5.1.1 Quetzacotl on 07/24/12 at 05:19 PM
    *Well, actually now I did't even restart system and it stopped working, maybe 'cause of virtualenv.
    I typed these commands on root, did commit, then changed to virtualenv and it doesn't work again. Even if I switch to root again. ;/
    # Carsten Schlipf on 07/24/12 at 05:28 PM
    *Do have automatic updates enabled?
    # Quetzacotl on 07/24/12 at 06:22 PM
    *I just let install updates when system ask me for it. Probably I did it after svn fix, but with every update libneon is updated as well?
    # Carsten Schlipf on 07/24/12 at 08:48 PM
    *Yes... that's right. You have to reapply this fix after every run of apt-get install or apt-get upgrade.
    #6 saramissss on 09/15/12 at 12:55 AM
    *Tnx. Works! Linux saramissss 3.2.0-30-generic-pae #48-Ubuntu SMP Fri Aug 24 17:14:09 UTC 2012 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
    #7 Durga charan ojha on 09/19/12 at 10:41 AM

    Below is the configuration I have in my laptop

    Release 12.04 (precise) 32-bit
    kernel – 3.2.0-30-generic-pae
    Subversion- Installed: 1.6.17dfsg-3ubuntu3
    Candidate: 1.6.17dfsg-3ubuntu3

    Getting error
    “Fixing ‘SSL handshake failed: SSL error: Key usage violation in certificate has been detected”

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and Regards,
    #8 tony on 11/29/12 at 11:22 PM
    *Thanks !
    #9 Harenson Henao on 12/10/12 at 03:48 PM
    *I made a bash script with all the steps, it could be useful for anyone of you.
    #10 Harenson Henao on 12/10/12 at 03:58 PM
    *If you want to hold a package version making use of "aptitude package manager", try this in a shell:

    aptitude hold libneon27

    Your package will be ignored in the upgrade process.
    #10.1 Carsten Schlipf on 12/10/12 at 05:46 PM
    *Thank you very much. Great tip!
    #10.1.1 Harenson Henao on 12/10/12 at 06:06 PM
    *Your welcome.

    I wish to modify the last entry. I recommend use "echo libneon27 hold | sudo dpkg --set-selections" instead of "aptitude hold libneon27".

    There is a better explanation:
    #11 Orby on 03/03/13 at 10:11 AM
    *Thanks for the pointer. This got me going.

    I found that exporting LD_PRELOAD broke a number of other applications. My solution is to rename the svn binrary to svn_bin, then create this shell script called svn in /usr/bin:


    export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/
    /usr/bin/svn_bin $@
    #12 Viraj on 03/06/13 at 11:43 AM
    *Perfectly worked for me. Thanks.
    #13 Grzegorz on 06/17/13 at 03:29 PM
    *Can you provide more info on what the following (in the beginning of the article) means:

    > user certificates that do not follow the standards strictly

    Or point to a resource?

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