Installing Mercurial on Ubuntu

Mercurial is a free, distributed source control management tool. This tutorial covers how to install Mercurial on Ubuntu and clone the Fab Academy archive.

NOTE:after each line of code you type in - you need to hit the enter key.

Step 1: Install Merucurial and Dependencies

You need ssh (secure shell) to communicate with the Fab Academy server in order to clone and communicate with the shared archive. It should be installed by default, but just in case...


sudo apt-get install ssh 

Then to instal Mercurial - Type:
sudo apt-get install mercurial

Step 2: Key files

You need to put key files (academy and where Mercurial can find them.

Open terminal

You will be in your home directory by default. Your prompt with look like:


Where "YourUsername" is the username you created to login to Ubuntu.

Type the following text into the terminal after the prompt:

ls ~/.ssh  

You system will ask you for a password - type in the password you use to log in to Ubuntu.

Note: If the system responds with a message like: ls: cannot access /home/akaziuna/.ssh: No such file or directory, then you need to create the .ssh folder. If you do not get this message, skip the command below.


mkdir ~/.ssh        

Within the .ssh directory you need to create another directory called keys. To do this type:

mkdir ~/.ssh/keys

Download the keys that your instructor sent you in an email. They are named academy and You will need to place them in the keys directory. To do this, save the key files to your desktop from the email.

Change your location in the terminal by moving to the Desktop folder.


cd ~/Desktop

Your prompt should now look like: YourUsername@ubuntu:~/Desktop$

You need to move both of the keys from your desktop to the keys directory that you created earlier.


mv academy ~/.ssh/keys
Then type:
mv ~/.ssh/keys

Both keys are now located in the .ssh directory. You can check to see by typing: sudo ls -l ~/.ssh/keys to list the contents of the directory. You should see that academy and are listed.

Step 3: Permissions for the Private Key

You need to set permissions for your private key so that only you have read/write access to them.


chmod 600 ~/.ssh/keys/academy
Then type:
chmod 644 ~/.ssh/keys/

Step 4: Setting the Port

You will need to set the port that ssh uses to access You can do this by creating and editing a config file within your .ssh directory.

To open the file with the nano text editor, type:

nano config

The nano text editor will open in the terminal window.

Add the following text to the empty file:

port 846 

To save the file:
- press [control]+O to save the file (then the enter key)
- press [control]+X to exit the editor

Do not add any extension to the file.

Now we need to move it to the .ssh directory.


mv config ~/.ssh/keys

Step 5: Clone the archive

Now we need to clone the archive for you region: na=North America, sa=South America, eu=Europe, as=Asia, af=Africa. Ask your Local Instructor or Remote Guru what archive to clone. In this example we are copying the North American (na) repository.

For convenience, we will clone it to the desktop.

Copy the text below and paste it into the terminal:

hg clone -e "ssh -p 846 -i ~/.ssh/keys/academy" ssh:// academy.2015

If you are cloning for the first time, you will be told that the "authenticity of the host cannot be established" and are given the option to type "yes" or "no".

Type "yes"

You should see the following response (or a similar response)in the terminal as the archive is cloned. Success!

requesting all changes
adding changesets
adding manifests
adding file changes
added 10 changesets with 119 changes to 112 files
updating to branch default
111 files updated, 0 files merged, 0 files removed, 0 files unresolved
Note: The number of files listed varies with the number of files in archive. A folder named academy.2015 has been created on your desktop. This folder contains the archive.

Step 6: Edit the Configuration File

Now you need to edit your archive's personal configuration file. To do this you need to move into the archive folder that you just created on the desktop. It is called academy.2015


cd academy.2015

You are now within the academy.2015 directory. Your path should change to : YourUsername@ubuntu:~/Desktop/academy.2015$

To edit your archive's personal configuration file (called hgrc) to reflect your name and email we need to open the file in a editior:


nano .hg/hgrc

A text editor will open outside of the terminal window. This text should already be in the file:

default = ssh://

Note: Do not change this text, just add to it - see step 5.

Put the following text in the file. 

username = First Last <user@machine.domain>
ssh = ssh -p 846 -i ~/.ssh/keys/academy -C
changegroup = hg update >&2
To save the file:
- press [control]+O to save the file (then the enter key)
- press [control]+X to exit the editor

Step 7: Update Your Archive

Now try updating your archive by typing:

hg pull

you should see a response like this:

pulling from ssh://
searching for changes
no changes found

Congratulations! You have been successful and you can now work with the archive. Look over the Mercurial basics and resources page.

However, if you get a response like this:

pulling from ssh://
searching for changes
adding changesets
adding manifests
adding file changes
added 1 changesets with 2 changes to 2 files
2 files updated, 0 files merged, 0 files removed, 0 files unresolved
(run 'hg update' to get a working copy)
Type "hg update", now you are successful.


If you are asked for a password:
then Mercurial can't find the keys or the key file permissions are wrong. (see steps 2 & 3).

If you try to pull and you get this message:
remote: ssh: connect to host port 846: Connection refused
abort: no suitable response from remote hg!

Then you forgot to edit the config file (see step 6)

Working With Mercurial

Look over the Mercurial basics and resources page.

Tutorial by Anna Kaziunas France - Last Updated January , 28th 2015