Mercurial vs Git

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In this article, we are focusing on the primary reasons a team may choose Mercurial as their (distributed) version control system over Git. There are many reasons and key differences between them, let's see them one by one so that we can choose one of them according to our convenience. We will look into depth Mercurial vs Git.

What Exactly is Git?

Git is by far the most widely used contemporary version control system. Git is a DevOps tool and an example of a distributed version control system (DVCS) that is used for source code management.

In simple words, it keeps track of all the changes happening in your code, and documents, and allows you to go back in time when something goes wrong. It also aids in the prevention of conflicting tasks in concurrent or parallel work by providing a "merge conflict" alert. The command-line or terminal version of git is called Git Bash and it also has a GUI version known as Git GUI.

One important thing about Git, working directly on the master branch in Git is not recommended since there is a high risk of having a broken project while making progress. Instead, you should always create a new branch, work on your improvements or a new feature, and then merge that branch into the master when everything is functioning as planned. It's a very good way to contribute to open-source projects, too.

Some of the basic git commands are :

  • git config
  • git init is used to initialize the repository.
  • git clone is used to clone the repository.
  • The git adds command is used to copy changes from the working directory to the staging area.
  • git commit is used to commit useful messages with the updated code.
  • git diff is used to check the status of the code.
  • git reset is used to undo local changes.
  • git status is used to show the state of the working directory and the staging area.
  • git rm is used to remove individual files or multiple files.

Commits are the fundamental unit of Git operations and are distinguished by an SHA-1 hash. Git employs a sequence of references to keep track of commits relative to one another and to index the contents of each commit.

Advantages of Git :

  • Versatility :
    Git is a highly versatile version control system that can be used for a range of projects, from small personal projects to large enterprise projects.
  • Easy Branching and Merging :
    Git provides an easy-to-use branching and merging system that makes it easy for users to manage multiple versions of their code.
  • Comprehensive Tracking :
    Git provides a comprehensive tracking system that makes it easy for users to keep track of changes to their code. The platform offers a range of tools for tracking changes, including versioning, tagging, and a history log.
  • Distributed Architecture :
    Git has a distributed architecture, which means that every user has a complete copy of the repository on their local machine. This provides several benefits, including the ability to work offline, faster performance, and better security.

What is Mercurial?

Mercurial is a distributed version control system that is free to use. It's also known as Mercurial source control or a revision control system. It is used to organize and track changes across projects.

The command syntax for working with Mercurial is intended to be straightforward for users to grasp. It has simpler and more intuitive commands, which helps to save time and increase development speed.

The fundamental commands are as follows :

  • hg init (project-directory)
  • hg log to see all changes made in the repository
  • hg clone (to clone remote repository)
  • hg pull brings all the changes that may be done by some other person in the repository
  • hg push sends all changes in the current repository
  • hg commit to saving your changes in the current repository

A revision log is a data structure that monitors changes in a linear fashion across time (RevlogNG). Its users can interact with repo items at any time thanks to the revision log structure. This feature of change tracking is very effective for large code bases with a high number of files and contributors in the same repo.

Once a change is successfully recorded in the Mercurial history, it is immutable and cannot be deleted unless a rollback operation is performed on that particular change. This feature can be extremely helpful in tracking when and by whom changes were made to the repository.

Advantages of Mercurial

  • Easy to Use :
    Mercurial is known for its ease of use and straightforward interface, making it a great choice for users who are new to version control.
  • Speed :
    Mercurial is known for its fast performance, making it a great choice for users who need to work with large repositories or who need to work with code quickly.
  • Scalability :
    Mercurial is designed to scale well, making it a great choice for users who need to manage large repositories or who need to manage code for large projects.
  • Flexibility :
    Mercurial is known for its flexibility and versatility, making it an excellent choice for users who need a version control solution that can be tailored to their specific needs.

Difference between Mercurial vs Git

ImplementationBecause of the increased degree of complexity in commands and repository structure, Git might take longer for teams to scale up.Simpler and more intuitive commands can assist teams in rapidly ramping up adoption.
BranchingGit allows you to create, remove, and modify branches at any moment without impacting previous commits.In Mercurial, we need to make changes in a complete set of a file in a repository.
HistoryRollback, cherry-pick, and rebase are all methods for modifying data.Immutable beyond rollback
Revision TrackingThe computed SHA-1 makes each revision different from the previous one.It follows an incremental, numerical revision index (0, 1, 2, etc) for revision tracking.
RollbackIt supports Revert command rebase and cherry-pick commands are optional.Backout and revert commands are available.
SpeedGit is Slower than MercurialMercurial is somewhat faster than Git.
SupportIt holds Linux heritageIt is based on python and cares about windows users more
ComplexityIt is more complexIt is less complex than Git
Community SupportGit has a larger and more active community than MercurialMercurial has a smaller community, which can result in less support and fewer resources for users.


  • Git is a DevOps tool that keeps track of all the changes happening in your code, and documents, it allows you to go back in time when something goes wrong.
  • Mercurial is a distributed version control system used by a software developer to manage and track changes in the project.
  • In this article, we have a brief introduction to both Git and mercurial and some of the basic commands.
  • We have seen a close difference between mercurial vs git, we can choose one of them according to the community requirements and the application.