svnserve over a Tunnel

A third way to invoke svnserve is in “tunnel mode”, with the -t option. This mode assumes that a remote-service program such as RSH or SSH has successfully authenticated a user and is now invoking a private svnserve process as that user. (Note that you, the user, will rarely, if ever, have reason to invoke svnserve with the -t at the command line; instead, the SSH daemon does so for you.) The svnserve program behaves normally (communicating via stdin and stdout), and assumes that the traffic is being automatically redirected over some sort of tunnel back to the client. When svnserve is invoked by a tunnel agent like this, be sure that the authenticated user has full read and write access to the repository database files. It's essentially the same as a local user accessing the repository via file:// URLs.

This option is described in much more detail in the section called “Tunneling over SSH”.