I have no experience using file: as I work with the daemon. However, I ran a quick test on another machine, and this worked.
svnadmin create demo
svn import . file:///home/rhose/tmp/demo -m "Initial import"
I tried it as:
svn import . file:///~/tmp/demo -m "Initial import"
and I got the same error you are getting... looks like you need to specify the path to your home directory.
Yeah, what tirwhan said. *Smiles* At least I had a reason to play with file: for a bit.
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