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Git is not the same in this case. Since git branches are just refs, I can do whatever commits or other changes I want and then assign a branch name. With hg every commit you make must first be done on the branch you want. This, when understood fully, can allow git to be much more flexible when manipulating the tree.

You can rebase mercurial commits to a branch after the fact. As others point out you can also use bookmarks that are very similar to git branches, and you can also commit with no branch or bookmark at all and mercurial won't hide or garbage collect those commits (unless you tell it too). It's actually more flexible than git.

If you don't want mercurial named branches then don't use them. Use mercurial bookmarks instead. They can do everything a git branch can do. Mercurial also has anonymous heads that actually allow Mercurial to be much more flexible than git.

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