RCS, the revision control system, is a suite of programs that tracks changes in text files and controls shared access to files in work group situations. It is generally used to maintain source code modules. It lends itself to tracking revisions of document files as well.
RCS was written by Walter F. Tichy and Paul Eggert. The latest version which has been ported to Linux is RCS Version 5.7. There is also a semi-official, threaded version available. Much of the information in this HOWTO is taken from the RCS man pages.
RCS includes the
rcs(1) program, which controls RCS archive
co(1), which check files
in and out of RCS archives,
ident(1), which searches RCS
archives by keyword identifiers,
rcsclean(1), a program to
clean up files that are not being worked on or haven't changed,
rcsdiff(1), which runs
diff(1) to compare the
rcsmerge(1), which merges two RCS branches into a
single working file, and
rlog(1), which prints RCS log
Files archived by RCS may be text of any format, or binary if the
diff program used to generate change files handles 8-bit
data. Files may optionally include identification strings to aid in
ident(1). RCS uses the utilities
diff3(3) to generate the change files
between revisions. A RCS archive consists of the initial revision of
a file, which is version 1.1, and a series of change files, one for
each revision. Each time a file is checked out of an archive with
co(1), edited, and checked back into the archive with
ci(1), the version number is increased, for example, to 1.2,
1.3, 1.4, and so on for successive revisions.
The archives themselves commonly reside in a
subdirectory, although RCS has other options for archive storage.
For an overview of RCS, see the
rcsintro(1) manual page.