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HP-UX 11i Version 3: February 2007

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sccsfile — format of SCCS file


An SCCS file is an ASCII file consisting of six logical parts:


Sum of all characters in the file except the first line.

delta table

Contains information about each delta.

user names

Login names and/or numerical group IDs of users who are allowed to add deltas.


Definitions of internal keywords. comments Arbitrary descriptive information about the file.


Actual text lines intermixed with control lines.

Throughout an SCCS file there are lines beginning with the ASCII SOH (start of heading) character (octal 001). This character is hereafter referred to as the control character and is represented graphically as @. Any line described below that is not depicted as beginning with the control character is prevented from beginning with the control character. All lines in the SCCS file are limited to BUFSIZ (defined in <stdio.h>) characters in length.

Entries of the form DDDDD represent a five-digit string (a number between 00000 and 99999).

The following describes each logical part of an SCCS file detail:


The checksum is the first line of an SCCS file. The form of the line is:


The value of the checksum is the sum of all characters except those in the first line. The @h sequence provides a magic number consisting of the two bytes 0x01 and 0x68. (Other versions of UNIX-like operating systems usually use this same value but it may be displayed or documented as a single number with a different byte order.)

Delta table

The delta table consists of a variable number of entries of the form:

@s DDDDD/DDDDD/DDDDD @d <type> <SID> yr/mo/da hr:mi:se <pgmr> DDDDD DDDDD @i DDDDD ... @x DDDDD ... @g DDDDD ... @m <MR number> . . . @c <comments> ... . . . @e

The first line (@s) contains the number of lines inserted/deleted/unchanged, respectively. The second line (@d) contains the type of the delta (currently, normal: D, and removed: R), the SID (SCCS ID) of the delta, the date and time when the delta was created, the login name corresponding to the real user ID at the time the delta was created, and the serial numbers of the delta and its predecessor, respectively.

The @i, @x, and @g lines contain the serial numbers of deltas included, excluded, and ignored, respectively. These lines are optional.

The @m lines (optional) each contain one MR (modification request) number associated with the delta; the @c lines contain comments associated with the delta.

The @e line ends the delta table entry.

User names

The list of login names and/or numerical group IDs of users who are allowed to add deltas to the file, separated by new-lines. The lines containing these login names and/or numerical group IDs are surrounded by the bracketing lines @u and @U. An empty list allows anyone to make a delta. Any line starting with a ! prohibits the specified group or user from making deltas.


Keywords used internally (see admin(1) for more information on their use). Each flag line takes the form:

@f <flag> <optional text>

The following flags are defined:

@f t <type of program> @f v <program name> @f i <keyword string> @f b @f m <module name> @f f <floor> @f c <ceiling> @f d <default-sid> @f n @f j @f l <lock-releases> @f q <user defined> @f z <reserved for use in interfaces>

The above flags function as follows:


Defines the replacement for the %Y% identification keyword.


Controls prompting for MR numbers in addition to comments. If the optional text is present, it defines an MR number-validity checking program.


Controls the warning/error aspect of the ``No id keywords'' message. When the i flag is not present, the message is only a warning; when the i flag is present, this message causes a fatal error (a get on the file fails, or the delta is not made).


When the b flag is present, the -b keyletter can be used on the get command to cause a branch in the delta tree.


Defines the first choice for the replacement text of the %M% identification keyword.


Defines the ``floor'' release; the release below which no deltas can be added.


Defines the ``ceiling'' release; the release above which no deltas can be added.


Defines the default SID to be used when none is specified on a get command.


Causes delta to insert a ``null'' delta (a delta that applies no changes) in those releases that are skipped when a delta is made in a new release (such as, when delta 5.1 is made after delta 2.7, releases 3 and 4 are skipped). The absence of the n flag causes skipped releases to be completely empty.


Causes get to allow concurrent edits of the same base SID. See admin(1) for restrictions.


Defines a list of releases that are locked against editing ( get(1) with the -e keyletter).


Defines the replacement for the %Q% identification keyword.


Used in certain specialized interface programs.


Arbitrary text is surrounded by the bracketing lines @t and @T. The comments section typically contains a description of the file's purpose.


Consists of text lines and control lines. Text lines do not begin with the control character; control lines do. There are three kinds of control lines:


Represented By:







The digit string is the serial number corresponding to the delta for the control line.


SCCS files can be any length, but the number of lines in the text file itself cannot exceed 99,999 lines.

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