This week’s edition of the “Build and Analyze” podcast featured a conversation about version control in which Dan Benjamin and Marco Arment talked briefly about Git and Mercurial and why Git was the more popular choice. They kept mentioning Github as the reason behind the popularity of Git and while I think that is a contributing factor I think the main factor in the rise in popularity of Git is it’s inventor…Linus Torvalds.
Mercurial has never had that type of star power. It has all of the same types of services available that Git has (bitbucket.org as the prime example of a Github equivalent and quite possibly better since the purchase of bitbucket by Atlassian) as well as some very high profile projects hosted in Mercurial in the past (Java, Open Solaris, Netbeans, etc.). But it didn’t have the inventor of Linux behind it which automatically is going to bring a lot of people to the platform by itself.
I prefer Mercurial myself. Both Mercurial and Git work well and have similar goals. I don’t think you can go wrong with either one. I just prefer Mercurial because it seems simpler
and also seems to play nicer on Windows which is one of the platforms I have to use on a daily basis for my coding work. (Update: tweet from a friend of mine suggests that I’m probably out of date on Git on Windows. Quite possible as I chose my horse for this race quite awhile ago. At the time Git wasn’t so hot on Windows. Mercurial has never had a problem that I’ve been aware of). It’s also written in my favorite language, Python 😉 That being said the more people that move of of Subversion and on to a DVCS like Mercurial or Git the better. My next task is to try to convert where I work from Subversion to Git or Mercurial…..