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Linux Server Hacks by Rob Flickenger

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Hack #23. Getting Started with RCS

Let RCS manage your system files, and keep a revision history

RCS is a revision control system, useful for keeping multiple revisions of configuration files, shell scripts, and any other text files you have lying around. Unlike CVS, there is no functionality for using RCS with remote machines; in RCS, everything is intended to be kept in the local filesystem.

RCS keeps all of its revisions in a directory called RCS/ (under the directory you're currently in). To start a new RCS repository, simply make the directory:

root@catlin:/etc# mkdir RCS

There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Now, we'll need to initialize a file into the new RCS repository before working with it. Let's work with syslog.conf:

root@catlin:/etc# ci -i syslog.conf
RCS/syslog.conf,v <-- syslog.conf
enter description, terminated with single '.' or end of file:
NOTE: This is NOT the log message!
>> Here's the syslog.conf for Catlin
initial revision: 1.1
done

The initial ci -i does a "check in and initialize," to give RCS a good first copy of the file. RCS prompts for an initial description, and then removes the file from the current directory. You probably don't want to leave it like that for too long, so after you've initialized the file in RCS, check it out:

root@catlin:/etc# co syslog.conf
RCS/syslog.conf,v --> syslog.conf
revision 1.1
done

That copies the file back into the current directory. But we're not ready to start working on it just yet. First, let's check it out with a ...

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