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. The abstraction layer provided by APR enables Subversion clients and servers to run on any operating system that other APR-based applications run on: Windows, Linux, all flavors of BSD, Mac OS X, NetWare, and others.
Although the APR library is part of the Apache HTTP Server (or, httpd), and httpd can be configured to serve Subversion repositories, httpd is not a required component of a Subversion installation.
The easiest way to get Subversion is to download a binary package built for your operating system. Subversion's web site (http://subversion.apache.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.
Alternatively, you can build Subversion directly from source
code, though it's not always an easy task. (If you're not
experienced at building open source software packages, you're
probably better off downloading a binary distribution instead!)
From the Subversion web site, download the latest source code
release. After unpacking it, follow the instructions in
INSTALL file to build it.
If you're one of those folks that likes to use bleeding-edge software, you can also get the Subversion source code from the Subversion repository in which it lives. Obviously, you'll need to already have a Subversion client on hand to do this. But once you do, you can check out a working copy from http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/subversion:
$ svn checkout http://svn.apache.org/repos/asf/subversion/trunk subversion A subversion/HACKING A subversion/INSTALL A subversion/README A subversion/autogen.sh A subversion/build.conf …
The preceding command will create a working copy of the
latest (unreleased) Subversion source code into a subdirectory
subversion in your current working
directory. You can adjust that last argument as you see fit.
Regardless of what you call the new working copy directory,
though, after this operation completes, you will now have the
Subversion source code. Of course, you will still need to fetch
a few helper libraries (apr, apr-util, etc.)—see the
INSTALL file in the top level of the
working copy for details.
 Note that the URL checked out in the example
ends not with
subversion, but with a
subdirectory thereof called
trunk. See our
discussion of Subversion's branching and tagging model for the
reasoning behind this.