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The SVN system always has two components: a server and a client. The server manages the central master copy of your projects in a database that is referred to as the "repository". The client software installed on each user's computer manages the local copy of the project that the user works on, and synchronizes it with the master copy on the server.

This synchronization is not continuous: Users would generally synchronize once before working, to get the latest changes from the central repository, and once after working, to add their changes to the repository.