Note: binary packages are available for most systems!


Some Linux distributions fail to include bits of Python's distutils by default, in which case you'll need to install a package usually called python-dev. Suse 9.3 needs python-devel which is not on the installation media: a download from Suse is required. FreeBSD users please see the note below.

Mercurial needs Python to run:

For the documentation, the prerequisites depend on which version of Mercurial you are trying to install:

You may want to check your operating system distribution for these (and possibly other software required by the prerequisites themselves). If you don't want to build and install the documentation, substitute make install-bin and make install-home-bin for make install and make install-home below.

You can save a lot of time by installing as many prerequisites from system packages as you can. Your distribution will provide information about the dependencies for Python and Mercurial, and although many of these are strictly optional (and, for those supposedly required by Python, unrelated to the normal functioning of Mercurial), some of these are vital. If you are going to build Python, be sure to get the "build dependencies" (the -dev versions of the dependencies) so that Python's configure script can find the header files for various libraries.

Sites offering an interface to distribution package repositories, such as those for Ubuntu and Debian can be useful in identifying dependencies. The control file in Debian/Ubuntu packages is also a useful source of build dependency information.

See "Platform Notes" below for recipes covering a range of different environments.

Unpacking the source

The necessary first step:

$ tar xvzf mercurial-<ver>.tar.gz
$ cd mercurial-<ver>

Per-user installation

To install in your home directory (~/bin and ~/lib, actually), run:

$ make install-home                     # add PYTHON=/path/to/python2.4-or-newer if necessary

To make hg available as a command, run the following shell commands (for bash) and add them to your shell configuration file (such as .bashrc or .bash_profile):

export PYTHONPATH=${HOME}/lib/python
export PATH=${HOME}/bin:$PATH

On some 64-bit systems (but not all), you'll need to use lib64 instead of lib in PYTHONPATH. The rule of thumb is that if /usr/lib64 exists, use lib64, otherwise lib. Besides being conservative for your own system, if you are putting up Mercurial to manage a web site or application that is being hosted for you by an ISP, this is likely the method which will least conflict with your host's environment.

On some systems, a remote, interactive login via ssh will not cause .bashrc to be invoked. It may therefore be appropriate to specify environment variable definitions in your .bash_profile instead (or ensure that your .bash_profile sources your .bashrc appropriately).

This behaviour is explained in the bash manual page: for an "interactive login shell", bash reads from the user's .bash_profile, .bash_login, or .profile instead of .bashrc (which is read for "an interactive shell that is not a login shell" or "when it is being run by the remote shell daemon"). This seems to contradict the behaviour for remote logins via rsh where .bashrc does get read.

For hg operations directly acting on remote repositories over SSH (instead of activities involving an interactive login and actually typing the commands in a remote shell), the remote .bashrc file should be invoked as part of the login process. Thus it makes sense to configure paths for Mercurial in this file and reference it in the other configuration files.

Unfortunately, some combinations of OpenSSH and bash will not cause .bashrc to be invoked (for reasons discussed in this thread). See guidance in the FAQ for workarounds.

System-wide installation

To install system-wide, you'll need root privileges.

$ make install

By default, Mercurial is installed under /usr/local, and on some systems an adjustment to the PATH environment variable may be required:

$ export PATH=${PATH}:/usr/local/bin                                     # assumes no older hg exists in the standard path

If Python does not reside under /usr/local, an adjustment to the PYTHONPATH environment variable is necessary. For example, for Python 2.5:

$ export PYTHONPATH=/usr/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages:${PYTHONPATH} # bash/ksh syntax

If the default python is older than 2.4, use the PYTHON option:

$ make install PYTHON=/path/to/python2.4

Changing the prefix

With this method, the addition of the PREFIX option will keep the Mercurial libraries out of /usr/local and put them instead where the prefix specifies similar to the way that install-home above keeps Mercurial local to a user in the per-user-installation. For example:

$ make install PREFIX=/var/hg

The PYTHONPATH and PATH will also need to be appropriately adjusted if PREFIX option is used.

For instance, using Python 2.5, and with PREFIX=/var/hg, you will need to set PYTHONPATH as follows in your environment:

$ export PYTHONPATH=/var/hg/lib/python2.5/site-packages:${PYTHONPATH} # bash/ksh syntax

Alternatively, you can also create a wrapper script that sets the PYTHONPATH variable, regardless of the user's environment:

mv /var/hg/bin/hg /var/hg/bin/
cat > /var/hg/bin/hg <<\EOF
exec /var/hg/bin/ "$@"

If PYTHONPATH is not correctly set, then hg debuginstall will print an error message that says:

ImportError: No module named mercurial


abort: couldn't find mercurial libraries in [...]
(check your install and PYTHONPATH)

Build directory installation

If you'd like to run development versions of Mercurial directly out of the Mercurial source distribution directory, do the following:

$ make local

This will build Mercurial's extensions in-place. Then, simply make a symbolic link to the hg script from a directory in your path.

Some notes on the C compiler

The C compiler is used for compiling Mercurial's extensions written in C.

Sometimes, Python (actually distutils) may be calling a different C compiler (usually the one used for compiling Python itself) than the one installed on your system. In this case, you can try set the environment variable CC to tell Python to use your favourite C compiler.

With Python 2.4, you may want to set the environment variable LDSHARED for generating shared objects on some platforms.

Testing a new install

And finally:

$ hg debuginstall   # sanity-test the install
Checking encoding (UTF-8)...
Checking extensions...
Checking templates...
Checking patch...
Checking merge helper...
Checking commit editor...
Checking username...
No problems detected

If you get complaints about missing modules, you probably haven't set PYTHONPATH correctly.

Platform Notes


Fedora 18 (Spherical Cow)

In order to install mercurial on Fedora 18, you can run the command below:

$ sudo yum install mercurial


FreeBSD provides the Ports System to easily install and manage applications. To install mercurial on FreeBSD, use the port (typically found in /usr/ports/devel/mercurial), or install and use the portinstall tool. Read Updating FreeBSD Ports to make certain you have the most recent ported version of mercurial and all dependent packages.


NetBSD's pkgsrc system provides a package for mercurial in pkgsrc/devel/mercurial. To install it, run:

$ cd /usr/pkgsrc/devel/mercurial
$ make install

See the pkgsrc documentation for more information on pkgsrc, and how to get, update and use it.


For Mercurial 1.4 and later, building the documentation requires Docutils. This can be installed via macports:

$ sudo port install py26-docutils

For Mercurial 1.3.x and earlier, source installation requires AsciiDoc and xmlto in order to build documentation. These are easy to install via fink or macports:


$ sudo apt-get install asciidoc xmlto # get the latest binary
$ fink install asciidoc xmlto # build from source


$ sudo port install asciidoc xmlto

Do one of these before building mercurial.

For some people on OS X 10.5, Mercurial fails to run with an error similar to the following:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/opt/local/bin/hg", line 18, in <module>
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/mercurial/", line 74, in __getattribute__
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/mercurial/", line 46, in _load
    mod = _origimport(head, globals, locals)
  File "/opt/local/lib/python2.5/site-packages/mercurial/", line 93, in <module>
    _encoding = locale.getlocale()[1]
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/lib/python2.5/", line 462, in getlocale
    return _parse_localename(localename)
  File "/opt/local/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5/lib/python2.5/", line 375, in _parse_localename
    raise ValueError, 'unknown locale: %s' % localename
ValueError: unknown locale: UTF-8

This appears to be due to the version of Terminal that comes with OS X 10.5 setting the value of the environment variable LC_CTYPE to a bad value, causing Python to throw. You can work around this problem either by going to "Terminal > Preferences... > Settings" and unchecking the option "Set LANG environment variable on startup", or else you can set the environment variables LC_ALL and LANG to appropriate values in your ~/.profile (e.g. add export LC_ALL=en_US.UTF-8 and export LANG=en_US.UTF-8). For more information on the LC_* and LANG variables see man locale.


10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx

In order to run mercurial built from source on Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid Lynx, if you have previously installed the mercurial package with:

$ sudo apt-get install mercurial

or using the synaptic package manager, then you will need to remove it and the mercurial-common package installed automatically as a dependency. You can do so with the following commands:

$ sudo apt-get remove mercurial --purge
$ sudo apt-get autoremove   # will delete the now unused mercurial-common

You can also explicitly remove the mercurial-common package like this:

$ sudo apt-get remove mercurial-common --purge

If you fail to remove mercurial-common, then you will get an error when you attempt to run hg about a missing module which will mimic not having python-dev installed. (ie osutil module not being found).

6.06 LTS Dapper Drake

In order to build mercurial on Ubuntu Dapper 6.06, it is first necessary to install gcc, the standard libraries, and the Python header libraries. This can be done with the following command:

sudo apt-get install build-essential gcc python-dev

For generating documentation (done during the installation) you will also have to install the AsciiDoc and xmlto packages (for Mercurial 1.3.x and earlier):

sudo apt-get install asciidoc xmlto


In order to build the inotify hgext on SUSE/SLES you may have to edit _inotify.c and change the include line for inotify.h from:

#include <sys/inotify.h>


#include <linux/inotify.h>


Arch has made Python 3 the default system Python. Python 2 is now as /usr/bin/python2. This breaks Mercurial's build process. Here's how to build on Arch:

PYTHONPATH=`python2 -c 'import sys; sys.stdout.write(":".join(sys.path))'` make local PYTHON=python2


Here's an example on installing Mercurial on Solaris 2.6 with ActiveState Python 2.4.1 (compiled with Sun CC) and GCC 2.95.3:

$ CC=gcc LDSHARED='gcc -G' python install

In our example, the -G option tells GCC to generate shared objects on Solaris, which is equivalent the -shared option on some other platforms. See GCC's manpage for more information on this.

- I installed it via make install-home, but I had to do some gcc calls myself (it didn't take -xarch and -x03). -ArneBab

Solaris 10 (Sparc)

Initially had some issues attempting to use the sunfreeware packages. The version of Python available from there didn't seem to have md5 enabled. Please note that I'm a bit of a novice with Solaris so if someone knows better then please ammend this note - MichaelAnthon

  1. Ensure that the following packages are installed
    • SUNWopenssl-include
    • SUNWopenssl-libraries
    • SUNWzlib
    • SMCgcc and SMClgcc346 (I had to upgrade to the 3.4.6 version before it would compile cleanly)
  2. Build python (using gcc from /usr/sfw and the Solaris assembler and linker from /usr/ccs and libraries from /usr/sfw/lib/, /usr/lib and /usr/local/lib)
    export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/usr/sfw/lib/:/usr/lib:/usr/local/lib
    export PATH=$PATH:/usr/ccs/bin:/usr/sfw/bin
    ./configure --libdir=/usr/sfw/lib/ --libdir=/usr/lib --libdir=/usr/local/lib --includedir=/usr/sfw/include --includedir=/usr/include --includedir=/usr/local/include
    make install (as root)
  3. Install setuptools from ( /!\ at this point I had to make a symlink from /usr/bin/python to /usr/bin/python2.6, not sure if the python install SHOULD have done that for me)

  4. Install Mercurial
    /usr/local/bin/easy_install -U mercurial


UnixInstall (last edited 2014-02-09 00:14:56 by PaulBoddie)