Subversion provides many optional behaviors that can be controlled by the user. Many of these options are of the kind that a user would wish to apply to all Subversion operations. So, rather than forcing users to remember command-line arguments for specifying these options, and to use them for every operation they perform, Subversion uses configuration files, segregated into a Subversion configuration area.
The Subversion configuration area is a two-tiered hierarchy of option names and their values. Usually, this boils down to a special directory that contains configuration files (the first tier), which are just text files in standard INI format (with “sections” providing the second tier). These files can be easily edited using your favorite text editor (such as Emacs or vi), and contain directives read by the client to determine which of several optional behaviors the user prefers.