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Parsing the change log and reconstructing an older version automatically is not a requirement. The only objective is to make everything I ever wrote and saved and potentially deleted searchable and locatable in time while avoiding the extreme redundancy of saving previous full versions of the file. You can describe this as the diffs between timestamped save points of an undo log.

Is there a very simple version control tool that only uses a diff-based change log for a text file?

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See page 167ff in https://www.amazon.com/Unix-Programming-Environment-Prentice-Hall-Software/dp/013937681X for 3 scripts that do rudimentary revision control (RC).

I have worked a little with gnu-arch (aka "tla"), http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/gnu-arch/ , it is no longer maintained, but still available.

As noted by Richard Chambers, RCS is available (as is cssc, an sccs clone in Linux repositories).

Eric Raymond has written "src", a python code: http://www.catb.org/~esr/src/ -- I have an early version, but have not had time to test it. I'm guessing that this may be your best bet.

(At our shop we use numerous levels for backup as well as RC. For example, we wrote a wrapper around rcs to simplify behavior for small projects and a development edition that uses bzr in place of rcs. I have more than 700 RCS directories in my tree of projects. For systems, we use VM snapshots, and for daily backup, rsnapshot.)

For a much longer list, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_version_control_software

Good luck ... cheers, drl

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