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By Zed A.

Shaw

Why I Use Fossil


I like to use Fossil for my projects these days. It's a great little SCM that's easy to use easy to deploy a!d with o!e si!gle "i!ary works o! e#ery platform you ca! imagi!e. $hat's ki!d of i!teresti!g though is propo!e!ts of git "a%aar a!d mercurial like to i!sult my choice for #arious reaso!s. &sually their reaso!s for !ot liki!g fossil are either #ery shallow or the e'act same reaso!s people who liked S() said they did!'t wa!t to use git*"a%aar*mercurial. For e'ample people who use git like to say fossil is weird. Fossil's actually pretty !ormal compared to git. +he comma!ds make se!se there's help a!d it's simple so each thi!g does o!e thi!g. ,it users howe#er will a#oid fossil "ecause it's !ot like git a!d do!'t wa!t to lear! a!ythi!g !ew yet whe! git came out those same people kept sayi!g lear!i!g git was like lear!i!g C. It's good for you$ell what if lear!i!g fossil is good for you. /ell I thi!k you should k!ow all the SCMs you ca! a!d "e a"le to switch "etwee! them. 0ou might !ot like it a!d I complai! all the time I ha#e to commit a merge i! mercurial "ut I k!ow how to use them a!yway. A!other complai!t people ha#e a"out fossil is that it looks like crap. I'm sorry "ut if you're compari!g fossil to githu" or "it"ucket the! that's a! u!fair compariso!. ,ithu" a!d "it"ucket are hosted ser#ices that get paid mo!ey a!d ha#e "ee! desig!ed to support ma!y projects at o!e domai! used "y ma!y people. Fossil is fairly !ew a!d while it supports most of the features or more that githu" a!d "it"ucket do it's desig!ed "y programmers to "e used "y other programmers. It's !ot that great of a desig! "ut the &I is pretty easy to use a!d gets the jo" do!e. So why do I use fossil. It's simply a"out 0ak sha#i!g a!d tryi!g to reduce the amou!t of "ullshit i! "etwee! me a!d getti!g a project out the door. $ith fossil I ca! cra!k out a whole project we" site with "uilt1i! wiki ticket tracki!g user ma!ageme!t a!d source co!trol with o!e comma!d. )ot o!ly that "ut e#eryo!e else o! the project gets the e'act same setup a!d all of the data is e2ually shared o! e#ery computer I'#e ra! i!to. +his is the reaso! I'#e "ee! a"le to cra!k out projects lately. Before if I wa!ted to pu"lish my stuff I had two choices3 4. ,i#e my data to ser#ices like githu" "it"ucket lau!chpad a!d the! deal with all the whi!ers who do!'t like whate#er I chose like somehow that makes their tri"e i!ferior. 5. Setup all the gear I !eed for each project. +rac may"e a!other wiki pro"a"ly a data"ase separate we" ser#er domai!s !gi!' co!figs a!d the! ma!age all that for each project. $ith optio! 64 I'm stuck ha#i!g all my project's data o! someo!e else's ser#er a!d may e#e!tually "e forced to pay them for hosti!g if I decide to do somethi!g !o!1

ope!source or if I get too large. 7! most of these ser#ices it just takes o!e jerk pushi!g a few huge files i!to my source "efore my project is killed or a "ad eco!omy a!d sudde!ly the ser#ice is go!e. If you do!'t "elie#e me ask all those 8therpad or 9a""le9B users whether they'll trust a ser#ice agai!. I! the age of the :ac2hire purchase: putti!g my source code o! some other ser#er just is!'t a good mo#e. $ith optio! 65 I'm yak sha#i!g ser#er admi!istratio! rather tha! codi!g. I!stalli!g trac wiki user ma!ageme!t a!d other systems for multiple domai!s sucks hard. (ery hard. /ell trac for multiple projects sucks. If you add to this the hosti!g costs of these systems where each o!e is a ;<145<M pytho! process per project or site you start to see how it is!'t #ia"le for small projects or e#e! medium o!es. Curre!tly I spe!d a"out =4 for each project a!d i!#est almost !o time mai!tai!i!g them. &si!g a system like +rac >which is not easier to use B+$? or a!y wikis or a!y "log systems is just !ot eco!omically feasi"le.

Enter Fossil
+he ad#a!tage of fossil is it remo#es all the "arriers I ha#e to pu"lishi!g a project. If you wa!t to set up your first drop of a project it's this3 fossil ser#e +hat's all. 0ou !ow ha#e your !ew project i!cludi!g a wiki ticket tracki!g timeli!es re#isio! shu!!i!g user ma!ageme!t CSS*html tweaki!g a!d e#erythi!g you !eed to get started ready to go. )ot o!ly that "ut it's the same o! $i!dows @i!u' )etBS9 FreeBS9 a!d 7SA. Bretty much a!ywhere that s2lite; ca! "uild fossil ca! ru!. )ow to host this o! my ser#er what do I do. 4. Copy a pro'y sta!%a I ha#e for !gi!'. 5. Create a user for the site like say mo!grelde#. ;. Add fossil http /home/mongreldev/fossils/mongrel2.fossil comma!d to i!et or 'i!etd. C. But the .fossil s2lite; i! the right place. +hat's it a!d with this I get a !ice security "o!us that fossil will chroot a!d the! drop pri# to the user that ow!s taht fossil repo >i! this case mongreldev?. If it gets hacked the! they just ha#e access to that o!e user !ot the whole site. Demem"er though that this is!'t the process of just setti!g up the e2ui#ale!t to +rac. +his is the four steps I !eed to setup the e2ui#ale!t of3 4. 5. ;. C. E. F. )gi!' +rac a!d may"e Moi!Moi! if you !eeded. hg "rowse or whate#er git's usi!g that week &ser admi! for those. /++B access to git or hg. Fully a!!otated .%ip dow!loads.

G. DSS feeds of all cha!ges. H. For a full domai!. I. $ith custom looks CSS a!d logos for each project. 4<. Fully secured. I ru! this off a #ery ti!y (M slice as well a!d "ecause fossil is writte! i! C e#e! ru!!i!g it o! i!etd uses !o DAM a!d is fast. My fossil setups ha#e sur#i#ed simulta!eous hits from /acker)ews Deddit a!d Slashdot without falli!g dow!. +hat's with !o tu!i!g !o cachi!g a!d a! i!ted setup. +hat's really all there is to it. I do!'t thi!k fossil is really superior to the others as I'm sure they all ha#e their stre!gths a!d weak!esses. It's just if I'm goi!g to create projects fast a!d get them out !ot ha#i!g to deal the system admi!istratio! yak sha#i!g is great. I wa!t to code !ot "a"y site a +rac ha!d out ssh keys or figure out how to get hg to safely ser#e a timeli!e. For me the ease with which fossil lets me pu"lish far outweighs the risk of people !ot wa!ti!g to help o! my projects "ecause they do!'t like it. I! fact I'd say that if fossil's default CSS makes you !ot wa!t to co!tri"ute to my project the! I pro"a"ly would!'t wa!t to write code with you. It's a sig! that you ha#e a pro"lem o"jecti#ely e#aluati!g software a!d you'd pro"a"ly "ri!g the completely wro!g aesthetic to my code a!yway.