Is this not it?
<configuration> <testFailureIgnore>false</testFailureIgnore> </configuration>
Actually "false" is the default behaviour anyway, so you shouldn't have to specify that you want it false. Just don't put it in the surefire config at all and it should fail when there are failures.
Carlo, what do you mean "fails if the workspace is unclean"? Do you mean no local uncommitted changes?
Is it possible to further restrict this such that "mvn deploy" is prohibited unless your local changes are committed AND your local wc is current with "svn info"'s "Last Changed Revision"?
Otherwise we're overwriting each other's snapshots. :)