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UNIX in a Nutshell: System V Edition

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Previous: Reference: ciChapter 18
The RCS Utility
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co [options] files

Retrieve a previously checked-in revision, and place it in the corresponding working file (or print to standard output if -p is specified). If you intend to edit the working file and check it in again, specify -l to lock the file. co accepts the standard options -q, -V, and -x.



Retrieve latest revision whose check-in timestamp is on or before date.


Force the working file to be overwritten.


Interactive mode; prompt user even when standard input is not a terminal. (New in RCS Version 5.)


This works like rcsmerge. R2 and R3 specify two revisions whose changes are merged into a third file: either the corresponding working file, or a third revision (any R specified by other co options).


Expand keyword symbols according to flag c. c can be:


Expand symbols to keyword and value (the default). Insert the locker's name only during a ci -l or co -l.


Like kv, but always insert the locker's name.


Expand symbols to keywords only (no values). This is useful for ignoring trivial differences during file comparison.


Expand symbols to keyword and value present in previous revision. This is useful for binary files that don't allow substring changes.


Expand symbols to values only (no keywords). This prevents further keyword substitution and is not recommended.


Same as -r, but also lock the retrieved revision.


Set the working file's modification time to that of the retrieved version. Use of -M can confuse make and should be used with care. (New in RCS Version 5.6.)


Send retrieved revision to standard output instead of to a working file. Useful for output redirection or filtering.


Retrieve the latest revision or, if R is given, retrieve the latest revision that is equal to or lower than R.


Retrieve the latest revision having the given state.


Same as -r, but also unlock the retrieved revision if you locked it previously.


Retrieve the latest revision that was checked in either by the invoking user or by the specified user.


Sort the latest stored version of file:

co -p file | sort

Check out (and lock) all uppercase filenames for editing:

co -l [A-Z]*

Note that filename expansion fails unless a working copy resides in the current directory. Therefore, this example works only if the files were previously checked in via ci -u. Finally, here are some different ways to extract the working files for a set of RCS files (in the current directory):

co -r3 *,v	Latest revisions of release 3
co -r3 -wjim *,v	Same, but only if checked in by jim
co -d'May 5, 2 pm LT' *,v	Latest revisions that were
	modified on or before the date
co -rPrototype *,v	Latest revisions named Prototype

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