backing the wrong horse

I have a long history of “backing the wrong horse,” as it were, when faced with decisions between two competing products. I’m one of the idiots who bought an HD-DVD player, back when it wasn’t clear whether HD-DVD or Blu-ray would win out. I have a boxed copy of OS/2 around here somewhere. And so on.

And, when deciding between git and Github vs Mercurial and Bitbucket, I chose the latter. I had good reasons for doing so, of course. In the early days, the tooling for hg (Mercurial) on Windows was much better than the tooling for git. And, for a small company looking to host a handful of private repos (my situation at the time), Bitbucket was a better deal. (And also, for personal use, Bitbucket allowed private repos under their free accounts, while Github only allowed public repos for free.)

Well, of course, git won the git vs. hg battle some time ago. Bitbucket added support for git several years ago, which was inevitable. And Microsoft added git support to Visual Studio, and even to TFS. Then, they bought Github. But Mercurial has hung on as an alternative, and is still actively maintained.

But now, Bitbucket is dropping support for Mercurial. As of June 1, 2020 “users will not be able to use Mercurial features in Bitbucket or via its API and all Mercurial repositories will be removed.” So, I’ve got some time, but I’m going to have to convert my old hg repos to git eventually. And if I’m going to do that, I might as well move them to Github too, since Github now allows unlimited private repos under free accounts. It might even make sense to make a few of them public, if they’re not too embarrassing. There’s been a lot of talk over the last few years about how valuable it is to have some public code up on Github when looking for a new job. (Not that I’m looking, but I assume I will again, at some point.)

The thread about this on Hacker News has some interesting discussion on the history and evolution of version control, along with a fair number of pro-Mercurial comments. (And of course a lot of the usual stuff you’d expect in a Hacker News discussion thread…)

The Bitbucket announcement of this change includes links to a couple of tools that can (theoretically) help you migrate from hg to git. Hg-Git will probably be the easiest for me, since it says it’s included in TortoiseHg, which has always been my favorite tool for managing hg repos. (Which reminds me that I need to try TortoiseGit again.)

At work, I’m hosting some of my current code in Azure DevOps, under git repos. But a lot of my code is still in on-prem TFS servers, under TFVC. I kind of wish I could convert all of that stuff to git and get it in Azure DevOps, but some of it still needs to stay in TFS for various reasons. Sigh.

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