rcs - change RCS file attributes
rcs options file ...
rcs creates new RCS files or changes attributes of exist-
ing ones. An RCS file contains multiple revisions of
text, an access list, a change log, descriptive text, and
some control attributes. For rcs to work, the caller's
login name must be on the access list, except if the
access list is empty, the caller is the owner of the file
or the superuser, or the -i option is present.
Pathnames matching an RCS suffix denote RCS files; all
others denote working files. Names are paired as
explained in ci(1). Revision numbers use the syntax
described in ci(1).
-i Create and initialize a new RCS file, but do not
deposit any revision. If the RCS file has no path
prefix, try to place it first into the subdirectory
.⁄RCS, and then into the current directory. If the
RCS file already exists, print an error message.
Append the login names appearing in the comma-sepa-
rated list logins to the access list of the RCS
Append the access list of oldfile to the access
list of the RCS file.
Erase the login names appearing in the comma-sepa-
rated list logins from the access list of the RCS
file. If logins is omitted, erase the entire
Set the default branch to rev. If rev is omitted,
the default branch is reset to the (dynamically)
highest branch on the trunk.
Set the comment leader to string. An initial ci,
or an rcs -i without -c, guesses the comment leader
from the suffix of the working filename.
This option is obsolescent, since RCS normally uses
the preceding $Log$ line's prefix when inserting
log lines during checkout (see co(1)). However,
older versions of RCS use the comment leader
instead of the $Log$ line's prefix, so if you plan
to access a file with both old and new versions of
RCS, make sure its comment leader matches its $Log$
Set the default keyword substitution to subst. The
effect of keyword substitution is described in
co(1). Giving an explicit -k option to co, rcsd-
iff, and rcsmerge overrides this default. Beware
rcs -kv, because -kv is incompatible with co -l.
Use rcs -kkv to restore the normal default keyword
Lock the revision with number rev. If a branch is
given, lock the latest revision on that branch. If
rev is omitted, lock the latest revision on the
default branch. Locking prevents overlapping
changes. If someone else already holds the lock,
the lock is broken as with rcs -u (see below).
Unlock the revision with number rev. If a branch
is given, unlock the latest revision on that
branch. If rev is omitted, remove the latest lock
held by the caller. Normally, only the locker of a
revision can unlock it. Somebody else unlocking a
revision breaks the lock. This causes a mail mes-
sage to be sent to the original locker. The mes-
sage contains a commentary solicited from the
breaker. The commentary is terminated by end-of-
file or by a line containing . by itself.
-L Set locking to strict. Strict locking means that
the owner of an RCS file is not exempt from locking
for checkin. This option should be used for files
that are shared.
-U Set locking to non-strict. Non-strict locking
means that the owner of a file need not lock a
revision for checkin. This option should not be
used for files that are shared. Whether default
locking is strict is determined by your system
administrator, but it is normally strict.
Replace revision rev's log message with msg.
-M Do not send mail when breaking somebody else's
lock. This option is not meant for casual use; it
is meant for programs that warn users by other
means, and invoke rcs -u only as a low-level lock-
Associate the symbolic name name with the branch or
revision rev. Delete the symbolic name if both :
and rev are omitted; otherwise, print an error mes-
sage if name is already associated with another
number. If rev is symbolic, it is expanded before
association. A rev consisting of a branch number
followed by a . stands for the current latest revi-
sion in the branch. A : with an empty rev stands
for the current latest revision on the default
branch, normally the trunk. For example,
rcs -nname: RCS⁄* associates name with the current
latest revision of all the named RCS files; this
contrasts with rcs -nname:$ RCS⁄* which associates
name with the revision numbers extracted from key-
word strings in the corresponding working files.
Act like -n, except override any previous assign-
ment of name.
deletes ("outdates") the revisions given by range.
A range consisting of a single revision number
means that revision. A range consisting of a
branch number means the latest revision on that
branch. A range of the form rev1:rev2 means revi-
sions rev1 to rev2 on the same branch, :rev means
from the beginning of the branch containing rev up
to and including rev, and rev: means from revision
rev to the end of the branch containing rev. None
of the outdated revisions can have branches or
-q Run quietly; do not print diagnostics.
-I Run interactively, even if the standard input is
not a terminal.
Set the state attribute of the revision rev to
state. If rev is a branch number, assume the lat-
est revision on that branch. If rev is omitted,
assume the latest revision on the default branch.
Any identifier is acceptable for state. A useful
set of states is Exp (for experimental), Stab (for
stable), and Rel (for released). By default, ci(1)
sets the state of a revision to Exp.
Write descriptive text from the contents of the
named file into the RCS file, deleting the existing
text. The file pathname cannot begin with -. If
file is omitted, obtain the text from standard
input, terminated by end-of-file or by a line con-
taining . by itself. Prompt for the text if inter-
action is possible; see -I. With -i, descriptive
text is obtained even if -t is not given.
Write descriptive text from the string into the RCS
file, deleting the existing text.
-T Preserve the modification time on the RCS file
unless a revision is removed. This option can sup-
press extensive recompilation caused by a make(1)
dependency of some copy of the working file on the
RCS file. Use this option with care; it can sup-
press recompilation even when it is needed, i.e.
when a change to the RCS file would mean a change
to keyword strings in the working file.
-V Print RCS's version number.
-Vn Emulate RCS version n. See co(1) for details.
Use suffixes to characterize RCS files. See ci(1)
-zzone Use zone as the default time zone. This option has
no effect; it is present for compatibility with
other RCS commands.
At least one explicit option must be given, to ensure com-
patibility with future planned extensions to the rcs com-
The -brev option generates an RCS file that cannot be
parsed by RCS version 3 or earlier.
The -ksubst options (except -kkv) generate an RCS file
that cannot be parsed by RCS version 4 or earlier.
Use rcs -Vn to make an RCS file acceptable to RCS version
n by discarding information that would confuse version n.
RCS version 5.5 and earlier does not support the -x
option, and requires a ,v suffix on an RCS pathname.
rcs accesses files much as ci(1) does, except that it uses
the effective user for all accesses, it does not write the
working file or its directory, and it does not even read
the working file unless a revision number of $ is speci-
options prepended to the argument list, separated
by spaces. See ci(1) for details.
The RCS pathname and the revisions outdated are written to
the diagnostic output. The exit status is zero if and
only if all operations were successful.
Author: Walter F. Tichy.
Manual Page Revision: 5.13; Release Date: 1995⁄06⁄05.
Copyright (C) 1982, 1988, 1989 Walter F. Tichy.
Copyright (C) 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 Paul
rcsintro(1), co(1), ci(1), ident(1), rcsclean(1), rcsd-
iff(1), rcsmerge(1), rlog(1), rcsfile(5)
Walter F. Tichy, RCS--A System for Version Control,
Software--Practice & Experience 15, 7 (July 1985),
A catastrophe (e.g. a system crash) can cause RCS to leave
behind a semaphore file that causes later invocations of
RCS to claim that the RCS file is in use. To fix this,
remove the semaphore file. A semaphore file's name typi-
cally begins with , or ends with _.
The separator for revision ranges in the -o option used to
be - instead of :, but this leads to confusion when sym-
bolic names contain -. For backwards compatibility rcs -o
still supports the old - separator, but it warns about
this obsolete use.
Symbolic names need not refer to existing revisions or
branches. For example, the -o option does not remove sym-
bolic names for the outdated revisions; you must use -n to
remove the names.