I just started working with Mercurial, a new distributed SCM system and I have to say that I am quite impressed. Mercurial is a direct competitor to GNU Arch, Darcs, BitKeeper, Monotone, and other open-source distributed SCMs, however it seems very well architected and polished.

I was particularly impressed by the fact that you not only run it as a command-line utility, but you can run the same program a web server, allowing you to distribute your files over a network; You can also configure it to run as a .cgi script, so that if you have a larger web site, you can incorporate a Mercurial repository within it fairly easily.

The code was pretty easy to set up and use. Within less than an hour, I was able to:

  • Compile and install the package on my laptop.
  • Create an initial repository.
  • Check in an example file.
  • Compile and install Mercurial on the remote host I use for viridia.org.
  • Propagate the changes from my laptop to the server.
  • set up Mercurial to function as a .cgi script.
  • write a .htaccess file to tell Apache to use it.

You can see the result here.

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