I decided that my fic deserved version control. I used it when I wrote my thesis, and though I rarely rolled anything back, even to look at previous versions, it was very comforting to have old versions around. Installing TWiki in various places brought to mind RCS, that BOFQ of version control programs that makes the little version numbers at the bottom of the page in TWiki. RCS is a bear to install on Windows - or rather, it’s easy to install but impossible to coax into working properly. But I had to have it for my fic. The muse deserves the very best. With all the chopping and overhauling and POV-shifting of fiction-writing, the ability to grab that paragraph you wrote in your first draft and cut out during the mad night of the third edit, in order to use it again in the same story or another, is priceless. I don’t know how I wrote without it.
I wasn’t looking forward to building RCS on my Mac, though, not after my several unsuccessful attempts using precompiled binaries for Windows at work. Nevertheless, I bravely downloaded the source and prepared to compile. Then I had one of those “Mac is Unix” moments, and I thought, maybe RCS is already around here somewhere. Mac is Unix means you can just type: which rcs at the command line, and lo and behold! /usr/bin/rcs
As an added bonus, when next I opened my lovely Emacs for Mac OS X (it’s not just a text editor, it’s a way of life), I found Version Control right there in the tools menu. A thing of beauty is a joy forever. It’s just like being back on that decrepit Sparc running SunOS 4…well, never mind about my misspent youth. You, too, can use RCS on Mac OS X, but I should warn you that I’m not sure it came on the first disk. It may have appeared later, once I installed the developers’ tools in order to compile Emacs. That’s the third disk that came with OS X, the one you look at suspiciously and put away in a dusty corner until you notice that make won’t make without it.