Running from inetd
For the svn:// protocol, you'll want to add a line to /etc/inetd.conf to start svnserve automatically, something like this:
svn stream tcp nowait my_svn_user /usr/bin/svnserve svnserve -i -r /srv/svn
Where /srv/svn is where your shared repositories live (so users don't have to have /srv/svn included in their URLs), and my_svn_user is a user with permission to read and write the repositories. You'll probably want to create a user specifically for running the svnserve service.
After editing /etc/inetd.conf you run
# update-inetd --enable svn
The idea of -r is twofold:
- Makes URLs shorter.
- Makes sure remote users can only get into a designated part of your Unix filesystem.
Note: if you are looking for a tutorial about subversion client usage, look at SmallSVNTutorial