As of subversion 1.8, there is now the
svn:global-ignores property which works like
svn:ignore but recursively (so set this on your top-level directory)
It is possible to ignore build and dist dirs by removing the directories from version control. The trick is to use the –keep-local option to leave the directory in the working copy. For example:
svn rm dist --keep-local
svn ci -m'removed build directory from version control'
The directory will no longer be tracked by subversion but it will still be there in your working copy to hold compiler output, etc.