to git or not to git

Paul Boddie paul at
Fri Aug 31 11:32:26 UTC 2018

On Friday 31. August 2018 13.03.22 Alessandro Rubini wrote:
> But I have a question for Berhnard, who says among other things I agree
> with:
> > * Use hg or other trackers if you can.
> why? It's already oh so difficult to get people make decent commits to
> git, where at least I can point to all the world doing that...

I might answer that as someone else who prefers Mercurial.

Firstly, it is a capable tool for doing distributed version control whose 
performance has easily been good enough for what most people need it for, 
including things like the Linux kernel, which is usually the vehicle used to 
discredit solutions other than Git.

It employs a conceptual model that is powerful enough for what most people 
need it for. Here we ignore random people on Stack Overflow who exclaim things 
about Git being a "powerful object database" when asked to justify some arcane 
incantation required to do what might have been straightforward with other 

It has had a decent user interface from day one, as far as I can tell. 
Meanwhile, I recall advice on adopting Git which involved the Cogito front-
end, now long since merged in with the actual Git interface, I guess. 
(Developers find a Subversion-style command interface comforting: who knew?!)

There is interoperability with Git that is presumably acceptable given that 
people managed to migrate their stuff to Git after being lobbied to move to 

It is actively maintained. I may not like the nature of some of the 
contributing organisations, but I cannot dispute that there are organisations 
who would not want to see it go away.

All of the above are merely things that do not disqualify solutions like 
Mercurial, and from personal experience I could probably suggest tools like 
Bazaar (the "NG" variant, of course, given that Canonical pretended that the 
original Bazaar never existed) with caveats about the last point, although I 
imagine that someone still maintains that, too, maybe just not Canonical any 

But possibly far more important than the above, which is only stated to 
undermine claims of "not good enough" is that we all benefit from choice. I 
could probably find some advantages of Mercurial, too, but I would be 
satisfied with just giving everything a fair hearing.


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