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Given that practically every non-beginner git tutorial starts off with "back up your repository", it's quite clear that git gets wedged a lot.

Somehow, I rarely see a Mercurial tutorial give that same advice unless you are doing something really experimental.




If you're writing a non-beginner git tutorial and you feel the need to include advice to "back up your repository" then you haven't done your job. It's incredibly hard to lose data with git - no matter what changes you make, the old commits are still around, because they're immutable. If you lose track of them, there's always "git reflog".

I don't want to pounce on you just because you prefer Mercurial to git, so this isn't really directed at you, but in general this line of argument is always a bit frustrating to me. I've never lost data with git, but I've lost data with Mercurial several times because of the terrible UI of "hg resolve", which throws away your changes without warning unless you remember to type "hg resolve -m". None of git's questionable UI decisions (and there are many) has caused me remotely as much trouble as "hg resolve".


It's way too easy to lose work with git. The easy availability of git reset --hard is a menace. I am using this https://gist.github.com/chx/3a694c2a077451e3d446f85546bb9278 shell script to make it not lose data. And it's a disgrace I need to do this. Disk space is free (within measurement error, especially for 99.99% of codebases) so just put that thing somewhere and if necessary I can use date and pickaxe to dig it up.


I do agree with that; "git reset --hard" should stash the changes in the working copy somewhere. I'm sure you'd agree, though, that backing up your repository is not going to protect you from "git reset --hard" unless what you're really doing is backing up the working copy, and if that's what you're doing, there's a built in feature to do that in git called "git commit". =)


Except that "git commit" isn't sufficient.

You have to use "git add" on a bunch of files that you have used "git add" on before.

As far as I can tell, every other revision control system tracks a file for "commit" once it has had even a single "add". This is the default case and what 99% of people want--"I told you to keep track of the file. Now keep track of it until I tell you otherwise."

git is the only revision control system I know of where I have to "git add" the same file over and over and over and over ... before doing "git commit".

But that is fairly standard git UI practice--"Optimize the 1% case and make the 99% case annoying."


git reflog has the previous refs, git reset --hard does not remove anything that has been committed.

It will however nuke changes that are not committed. Which is exactly what I use it for... But your script sounds like a decent solution if you want also that to be undoable


A revision control system losing data on a bad ctrl+r is, as I mentioned, a menace.


Having to navigate the reflog as a beginner can be overwhelming.


A backup can still be very useful if you perform something non-trivial like e.g. history rewriting. Sure you unlikely lose something but restoring a backup might often be the easier solution to restore the state you started from.


re: hg resolve,

That's like complaining that git threw away your changes because you forgot to commit them before pushing. Yes hg resolve is a little bit confusing the first time you encounter it. But all your losing is the conflict resolution. You didn't lose the two heads that you were trying to merge nor did you lose the conflict markers.

If that's the only place that confused you in hg's interface then it did a way better job than Git in it's user interface.


It's not really similar to forgetting to commit before pushing, but as another poster pointed out it's fair to compare it to "git reset --hard". The difference in my mind is that "hg resolve -m" is part of the workflow you'd use commit the changes in the working copy. It would be like if git threw away your changes if you ran "git commit" with no arguments.


I wished I could back up my repository when I worked with AccuRev or SVN. Knowing with absolute certainty that the worst-case scenario was just reverting to a copy meant that I could try anything in git, even when I barely knew what I was doing. Freedom to experiment without consequences made learning git a much faster process than previous version control systems I'd worked with.


That's too bad for Mercurial. Backing up a repo is just good practice—if you care enough to do version tracking, you should care that you have a backup. I have backups of all of my repos, but I have never once gotten Git into an unusable state.


In Mercurial, you backup in case Mercurial does something it isn't supposed to do and you lose data. With Git, you backup because git is hard to reason about and there's a good chance that the command you're running will put you into a technically-valid state that you don't understand or know how to get out of and you don't want to spend hours Googling git jargon to figure out how to get out of it. This might be detached-head-state for beginners, or an odd rebase that somehow lost your data and your company's git experts can't figure out where it went. Obviously the probability of such a state is inversely proportional to your understanding of git.




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