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Mercurial (commonly referred to as hg) is a distributed version control system written in Python and is similar in many ways to Git, Bazaar and Darcs.


Install mercurial, available in the Official repositories.

Graphical front-ends

See also Mercurial graphical user interfaces.

  • EasyMercurial — Simple user interface for the Mercurial distributed version control system. || easyhgAUR
  • hgk — Tcl/Tk based tool to browse the history of a repository in a graphical way. || mercurial + tk
  • hgtui — Textual user interface frontend for DSCM mercurial. || hgtui-hgAUR
  • hgview — Qt4 and text based Mercurial log navigator. || hgview
  • TortoiseHg — Set of graphical tools and a Nautilus extension for the Mercurial distributed revision control system. || tortoisehgAUR


At the minimum you should configure your username or mercurial will most likely give you an error when trying to commit. Do this by editing ~/.hgrc and adding the following:

username = John Smith <johnsmith@domain.tld>

To use the graphical browser hgk aka. hg view, add the following to ~/.hgrc (see forum thread):


You will need to install tk before running hg view to avoid the rather cryptic error message:

/usr/bin/env: wish: No such file or directory

To remove Mercurial warnings of unverified certificate fingerprints, add the following to ~/.hgrc (see Mercurial wiki):

cacerts = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt

If you are going to be working with large repositories, you may want to enable the progress extension by adding it to your ~/.hgrc file:

progress =

This will show progress bars on longer operations after 3 seconds. If you would like the progress bar to show sooner, you can append the following to your configuration file:

delay = 1.5


All mercurial commands are initiated with the hg prefix. To see a list of some of the common commands, run

$ hg help

You can either work with a pre-existing repository (collection of code or files), or create your own to share.

To work with a pre-existing repository, you must clone it to a directory of your choice:

$ mkdir mercurial
$ cd mercurial
$ hg clone

To create you own, change to the directory you wish to share and initiate a mercurial project

$ cd myfiles
$ hg init myfiles

Dotfiles Repo

Merge-arrows-2.pngThis article or section is a candidate for merging with Dotfiles.Merge-arrows-2.png

Notes: Uses git, but the idea is the same. (Discuss in Talk:Mercurial#)

If you intend on creating a repo of all your ~/. files, you simply initiate the project in your home folder:

$ hg init

It is then just a case of adding the specific files you wish to track:

$ hg add |file1 file2 file3

You can then create a ~/.hgignore to ensure that only the files you wish to include in the repository are tracked by mercurial.

Tip: If you include: syntax: glob at the top of the .hgignore file, you can easily exclude groups of files from your repository.

See also