A practical interactive workshop on learning how to use version control, and an introduction to using the shell (aka terminal aka commandline).

The version control software is fossil, and the shell is Zsh (through Cygwin).


The workshop aims to help you with organizing your code and documents. Have you experienced times when your code used to work yesterday but doesn’t today because of a few minor changes you made and forgot? Or times when you change your code and want to change back later, but forget what were all the changes and which one you want to change back? Version control is your solution! Come to our workshop for a kick start of efficient winter research!

When and where

  • Wednesday Feb 12th at 13:15–15:45 in the ARC 233 of the Advanced Research Complex

    • Please install the software on your computer in advance!

      • 13:15–14:00 software setup/troubleshooting + food (optional if you’ve done it in advance and you don’t want free food)
      • 14:00–14:30 intro to shell (required for next part!)
      • 14:30–15:00 version control tutorial (part 1/2)
      • 15:00–15:10 break
      • 15:10–15:45 version control tutorial (part 2/2)

What do I need

This is a practical workshop, so please bring a personal computer. If you have time, I strongly recommend that you go through the software setup guide before the workshop itself. Contact me if you have issues!

What if you get hit by a bus and this great resource goes offline?

This entire guide (including the “” script!) is in a Fossil repository hosted at, of which you can grab a full copy for safekeeping using the following command:

fossil clone vc_workshop_201805.fossil

You can also just grab a ZIP archive of the latest commit from



This session was organized by the uOttawa Physics Grad Students Association (PGSA). Many thanks in particular to Alan Godfrey, Erin Flannigan, Benoit Vanus, Spencer Sterling, Kate Fenwick, Saad bin Alam, and Daisy Xia.


Many thanks to Thomas Rademaker for organizing this workshop!


This workshop series was organized by the uOttawa Physics Grad Students Association (PGSA). Many thanks in particular to Ludmila Szulakowska (PGSA president), in particular for the “why” text above, and to Daisy Xia (PGSA communications officer).


Eduard Dumitrescu’s contact info is here.