The Mercurial repository for KnowledgeBlog ( has been starting to show the strain for a while now. Firstly, when it was created we were all new to mercurial; for instance it contains the trunk directory which is really a Subversion metaphor. The second problem is that it is a single large repository, which maps to the development directory on my hard drive; there is now a lot of experimental software on my hard drive which I don’t want in a public enviroment, so I am now faced with either an enormous .hgignore or more “untracked” files than tracked. Not ideal.

At the same time, I have more recently moved mostly toward using git; actually, I still think Mercurial is nicer than git; the interface to the commands is cleaner, and the functionality is not that different. However, there is a fantastic UI, magit, for Emacs, while the equivalent for Mercurial is not as good. This is important to me. So, I wanted to try and address both of the issues at the same time; splitting the repository upon, and move to git.

The process for achieving this turned out to be relatively simply; mercurial comes with a fantastic extension called convert. This is actually a general purpose extension to convert from other VCS systems into mercurial; however, it will also convert one hg repo to another. It has the ability to both filter the existing repo and rename locations at the same time. To create my new repository I used these commands:

mkdir mathjax-latex-hg
cd mathjax-latex-hg
## create filemap.txt
hg init
hg convert --filemap filemap.txt devel-hg-old/ .

which create a new Mercurial repository, and convert the data from the old, tangled repository. The filemap.txt file contains a couple of lines only:

include trunk/plugins/mathjax-latex
rename trunk/plugins/mathjax-latex .

These filter for just the mathjax-latex plugin and move all its files to top level. This is the only part of the process that needs changing to export different parts of the repo, as I done four times now. This now gives me a Mercurial repository in the right shape. Now, we create a new git repo, and import the untangled Mercurial repo into git. Again, reasonably straight-forward. hg-fast-export is the name of the command on ubuntu which is more sensible than original fast-export which is both overly generic, and a hostage to the future.

cd ..
git init mathjax-latex-git
cd mathjax-latex-git
hg-fast-export -r ../mathjax-latex-hg
git checkout HEAD

Finally, the repo needs to be made publicly available, in this case of github. And all is complete.

git remote add origin
git push -u origin master

Of course, mathjax-latex does not actually need updating, because it is feature complete and working. However, the WordPress plugin page now includes a nasty warning, so I probably need to update it just to avoid this. Bit of a pain, especially the only way of doing this involves updating the Subversion repository, which I don’t actually use. Slightly painful.


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