baseline − rcs utility


baseline [options] [file-specifications]


Baseline permits you to set a baseline version in one or more RCS files.


Baseline adds a baseline (placeholder) version to one or more RCS archives. The effective check-in time for the file is the file’s last check-in date (before baseline is invoked)

Assuming that the file was originally checked in using checkin, then the check-in, modification and baseline dates all are the same.

A baseline version consists of a group of files which can be referenced by a common version number. The baseline program uses for this purpose 2.0, 3.0, etc. Version 1.0 is never used, since the first development version is, by convention, 1.1.

After baselining, you may use checkout to obtain a particular set of files. For example,

checkout −r2.0 file

obtains the baseline "2.0" version, while

checkout −r2 file1 file2 file3

obtains the last development version beginning with "2.0", but before "3.0".


Baseline recognizes several options:

the new baseline version, specified as a whole number after a hyphen, e.g.,

baseline −2 file1 file2 file3

If no baseline version is specified, the most recent baseline version (as recorded in the RCS,v permit-file) is assumed. This is done to permit additional files to be added to an existing baseline.


permits baseline to process files in directories beginning with ".".


leaves files locked after baselining. Also, if files are locked but not modified, no error is reported.


allows baseline to follow symbolic links to directories.


adds the string "−− msg" to the default baseline revision message "BASELINE date".


runs baseline in no-op mode, showing where permissions would be purged, and listing files which would be baselined.


the "purge" option purges existing access lists in the archives to prevent locks while the baselining process is proceeding.


permits baseline to run recursively when it encounters a non-RCS directory.


makes the baseline process more verbose by causing permit, checkin and checkout to show their actions.


Before invoking baseline, ensure that all of the files to be baselined have been checked into rcs (e.g., with "checkin −u"). This is easily done using the directory editor ded.

Baseline operates only upon files which have been checked into rcs (i.e., a corresponding archive file exists in the subdirectory "RCS").

Baseline requires that all of the working files have been checked in (i.e., with the "−u" option so that they are retained as working files).

Baseline first invokes permit (to ensure that you have permission to place locks in the directory, then to purge the archive access lists, and finally to set the baseline-version for the directory). It then invokes checkin and checkout (which must be in your path) to first place a lock on the specified files, and then to check-in the file with the new, baseline version.

If any files are found which are locked, baseline prints an error message and halts. Similarly, an attempt made to baseline a file with a lower version than has been archived will result in an error.


Baseline is written in C, and runs under POSIX systems.


Baseline uses the following files


the RCS directory-permissions utility


the RCS check-in package


the RCS check-out package


Baseline does not currently handle branch deltas.


checkin, checkout, ded, permit


Thomas E. Dickey <>