Dispatches from the latest Mercurial sprints

Friday, March 24, 2017

On March 10th-12th, the Mercurial project held one of its twice-a-year sprints in the Google Mountain View office. Mercurial is a distributed version control system, used by Google, W3C, OpenJDK and Mozilla among others. We had 40 developers in attendance, some from companies with large Mercurial deployments and some individual contributors who volunteer in their spare time.

One of the major themes we discussed was user-friendliness. Mercurial developers work hard to keep the command-line interface backwards compatible, but at the same time, we would like to make progress by smoothing out some rough edges. We discussed how we can provide a better user interface for users to opt-in to without breaking the backwards compatibility constraint. We also talked about how to make Mercurial’s Changeset Evolution feature easier to use.

We considered moving Mercurial past SHA1 for revision identification, to enhance security and integrity of Mercurial repositories in light of recent SHA1 exploits. A rough consensus on a plan started to emerge, and design docs should start to circulate in the next month or so.

We also talked about performance, such as new storage layers that would scale more effectively and work better with clones that only contain a partial repository history, a key requirement for Mercurial adoption in enterprise environments with large repositories, like Google.

If you are interested in finding out more about Mercurial (or perhaps you’d like to contribute!) you can find our mailing list information here.

By Martin von Zweigbergk and Augie Fackler, Software Engineers