Subversion is built on a portability layer called APR—the Apache Portable Runtime library. The APR library provides all the interfaces that Subversion needs to function on different operating systems: disk access, network access, memory management, and so on. While Subversion is able to use Apache as one of its network server programs, its dependence on APR does not mean that Apache is a required component. APR is a standalone library useable by any application. It does mean, however, that like Apache, Subversion clients and servers run on any operating system that the Apache httpd server runs on: Windows, Linux, all flavors of BSD, Mac OS X, Netware, and others.
The easiest way to get Subversion is to download a binary package built for your operating system. Subversion's website (http://subversion.tigris.org) often has these packages available for download, posted by volunteers. The site usually contains graphical installer packages for users of Microsoft operating systems. If you run a Unix-like operating system, you can use your system's native package distribution system (RPMs, DEBs, the ports tree, etc.) to get Subversion.
Alternately, you can build Subversion directly from source
code. From the Subversion website, download the latest
source-code release. After unpacking it, follow the
instructions in the
INSTALL file to build
it. Note that a released source package contains everything you
need to build a command-line client capable of talking to a
remote repository (in particular, the apr, apr-util, and neon
libraries). But optional portions of Subversion have many other
dependencies, such as Berkeley DB and possibly Apache httpd. If
you want to do a complete build, make sure you have all of the
packages documented in the
If you plan to work on Subversion itself, you can use your
client program to grab the latest, bleeding-edge source code.
This is documented in the section called “Get the Source Code”.