I followed this how-to http://www.howtoforge.com/debian_subversion_websvn
and was able to carry out all the tests. From the command line I can commit, import export, etc. Browsing to http://myserver.tla/websvn
looks fine and dandy and I can compare file differences and everything.
When I attempt to connect via tortoisesvn or rapidsvn I get (depending on the url) either "301 Repository Moved permanently" errors or 405 method not allowed errors.
Almost all the pages on this refer back to tigris faq question http://subversion.tigris.org/faq.html#http-301-error
This says essentially, that httpd.conf is misconfigured, that the url is unclearly defined and that apache doesn't know where to look for the resource. Now ignoring the fact that debian uses apache2.conf, I've double checked the directives:
Apache2.conf calls the following files which define various directives for locations
dav_svn.conf configures <Location svn_project_a> as /var/svn-repos/project_a and <Location svn_project_b as /var/svn-repos/project_b
/etc/apache2/conf.d/websvn creates an Alias /websvn /usr/share/websvn, then gives a Directory directive for it.
sites-enabled/000-default defines 1 virtual host. The document root is set to /var/www and then the default directories are defined and configured (all default - /, /var/www, /cgi-bin, etc).
I've turned logging up to debug level but that is telling me little beyond the error messages I get from tortoisesvn. I've also installed Rapidsvn (in case it was a tortiose issue - it wasnt)
Pointers as to what the issue is, or how I can extract meaningful data would be deeply appreciated.