I'm currently using Dropbox to sync and backup my stories (which are generally in LaTeX). However, I've read that it's probably a better idea to switch to a "real" version control system, especially to separate my LaTeX formatting changes (and restructuring) from my content changes.

Assuming that the answer is yes, here are some of my follow-up questions:

  • Should I use Hg or git? I currently use git for my programming projects, but would not mind learning Hg.
  • Should I host on my server or use a cloud service (GitLab or Bitbucket) private repository for sync and redundancy?

Misc. situational details (may already be mentioned):

  • Primarily single-author short stories
  • Text is in LaTeX documents
  • I've used Dropbox's history feature before to recover from iOS apps not playing nicely with my project's structure.
  • I have a VPS I could use for file storage & sync

1 Answer 1


If you're anticipating large structural changes to your LaTeX documents, then a version control system might do you some good. If that's the case, use git since you're familiar with it. Mercurial (hg) is similar enough that you wouldn't have problems if you go that route, although the cloning and branching paradigm seems a bit different (FWIW, I'm pretty familiar with git and only a beginner with Mercurial).

As for using GitLab or BitBucket, it's a cost-benefit analysis of whether you'd rather have total control (your server) versus the reliability and performance of the third-party services (GitLab or BitBucket).

[Edit: Changing answer due to new data involving Dropbox potentially causing repo corruption]

  • I've read that Dropbox and git don't play nice when you have a Dropbox sync error, since the conflicted copies mess up your .git folder
    – cjm
    Apr 19, 2016 at 18:31
  • @cjm After some research, it appears that you're right. I'll edit my answer.
    – TriskalJM
    Apr 19, 2016 at 20:15
  • I write using a git repo in Dropbox. I haven't had any problems. OTOH, I don't access from multiple devices. git + github or similar service works out well enough as a backup solution (you might want to make sure that its a private repo). If you do, you'd want to commit early commit often, and push to remote frequently, otherwise nothing is being backed up, unlike in Dropbox.
    – Jacob Lee
    Feb 27, 2021 at 3:44

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