Brandon's Notepad

February 27, 2012


Filed under: Computer Software,Linux — Brandon @ 8:13 am
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Home > My Lists > Technical Notes > Linux > RCS

RCS is a version control tool released in 1982 as an alternative to the (then) decade-old SCCS written by Bell Labs. It is part of GNU now and is an underlying technology for almost all large version control solutions on the market. There is plenty of info on RCS out there; these notes only cover what I need to remember about RCS but tend to forget over time.


Official RCS Homepage (Purdue)
RCS Wikipedia Page
RCS manpage and intro (
Using GNU RCS by Aaron Hawley (Burlington Telecom)


  • The rcs, ci, co, rcsdiff, rcsmerge, rcsclean, & rlog commands are RCS operations.
  • Archives are stored in ./RCS if it exists or in ./ by default.
  • New archives are initialized with ‘rcs -i filename’ or by just checking it in the first time.
  • The -t flag adds a description of the file (instead of being prompted).
  • ci deletes the working file by default.
  • The -m flag adds a log message (instead of being prompted).
  • “ci -l” locks the file (implicit checkout), and “ci -u” leaves a read-only copy behind.

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