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WinRCS - Windows front end to GNU RCS

WinRCS is a user-friendly front end to the GNU RCS Revision Control System. It shows the whole revision tree of a project in a Windows Tree Control, and helps you to check in, check out, compare, report on and freeze revisions.

It also has multiple-site facilities, allowing development to take place independantly on multiple remote sites, with automatic collection of changed files at remote sites, and automatic merging of changes at the master site.

WinRCS runs only on 32-bit Microsoft Windows systems - Windows 95 or Windows NT4.

WinRCS is written using Microsoft Visual C++, and requires certain Microsoft DLL's to run. Many people will already have these DLL's, but, in case you haven't, I have made an extra ZIP file containing them, which you can download if you have problems running WinRCS.

What is GNU RCS

An important problem in program development and maintenance is version control, i.e., the task of keeping a software system consisting of many versions and configurations well organized. The GNU Revision Control System (RCS) is a software tool that assists with that task. RCS manages revisions of text documents, in particular source programs, documentation, and test data. It automates the storing, retrieval, logging and identification of revisions, and it provides selection mechanisms for composing configurations. For conserving space, RCS stores deltas, i.e., differences between successive revisions. Usage statistics show that RCS's delta storage method is space and time efficient.

Version control is the task of keeping software systems consisting of many versions and configurations well organized. The Revision Control System (RCS) is a set of commands that assist with that task.

RCS' primary function is to manage revision groups. A revision group is a set of text documents, called revisions, that evolved from each other. A new revision is created by manually editing an existing one. RCS organizes the revisions into an ancestral tree. The initial revision is the root of the tree, and the tree edges indicate from which revision a given one evolved. Besides managing individual revision groups, RCS provides flexible selection functions for composing configurations. RCS may be combined with MAKE, resulting in a powerful package for version control.

RCS also offers facilities for merging updates with customer modifications, for distributed software development, and for automatic identification. Identification is the stamping of revisions and configurations with unique markers. These markers are akin to serial numbers, telling software maintainers unambiguously which configuration is before them.

RCS is designed for both production and experimental environments. In production environments, access controls detect update conflicts and prevent overlapping changes. In experimental environments, where strong controls are counterproductive, it is possible to loosen the controls.

Although RCS was originally intended for programs, it is useful for any text that is revised frequently and whose previous revisions must be preserved. RCS has been applied successfully to store the source text for drawings, VLSI layouts, documentation, specifications, test data, form letters and articles.

RCS is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 1, or (at your option) any later version.

RCS is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should receive a copy of the GNU General Public License along with RCS; see the file COPYING. If not, write to the Free Software Foundation, 675 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Build 10 is now available. It now allows the GNU RCS executable files to be installed anywhere, and also reports if it is unable to find the executable.

Although GNU RCS is free software, for which the source code is provided, and which is portable to a large number of operating systems and computer hardware, WinRCS is not. WinRCS contains no code from GNU RCS - it just runs the GNU RCS commands in a hidden command window, and collects the output for analysis or display.

WinRCS executables are provided free of charge for use by educational institutions and private individuals. Use by a commercial organisation, other than strictly for the purpose of evaluating the software, requires a commercial use licence. Fees for a commercial licence are reasonable, and depend on the usual number of people using the software in your organisation.

Fees start at £40 (about $60) for a small organisation. Please contact us for details. GNU RCS is, of course, absolutely free.

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