Queston on using the delete option

Andy Lam Andy.Lam at
Wed Mar 13 04:43:05 EST 2002

You brought up a very good point which described what  rsync can and can
not do.  Because of the robustness of this application, we are  trying
to find a way to use rsync and replacing our current primitive system
which uses tar and send the data over a small pipe.

Since my last posting, I have thought about not using the
"--delete"option and instead, gather a list of files to be deleted from
our internal publishing/staging system and remove them separately.

Once again, thank you much for you comments and suggestions.  "Rsync" is
the best replicating application  I have seen so far. It's much better
than "rdist" and even some of the commercial applications.  A Big thanks
to the rsync development community.


Andy Lam
andy.lam at
Xilinx Inc.

> tim.conway at tim.conway at
> Mon, 11 Mar 2002 16:50:24 -0700
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> Through what method might rsync determine whether a file on the
> destination is from the source and since deleted, or created on the
> destination, when even you have no way of knowing.  You would need a
> complete history of both filesystems, every create, rename, move,
> insert,
> delete, append, and unlink, in the correct order, in order to know
> side a file came from, and in the case of duplicate filenames being
> created on each end, which one is the correct one.  Actually, in that
> case, you'd also need to know the intentions of the users creating the

> files.  This is not information that can be gathered by examining the
> state of the two filesystems, which is all rsync can do.    Your
> application appears to call more for a shared filesystem scheme.
> you're not mirroring or backing up to a location being locally changed

> in
> ways even you don't know.
> It can do only what you tell it to do.
> Tim Conway
> tim.conway at
> 303.682.4917
> Philips Semiconductor - Longmont TC
> 1880 Industrial Circle, Suite D
> Longmont, CO 80501
> Available via SameTime Connect within Philips, n9hmg on AIM
> perl -e 'print pack(nnnnnnnnnnnn,
> ".\n" '
> "There are some who call me.... Tim?"
> Andy Lam <andyl at>
> Sent by: rsync-admin at
> 03/11/2002 10:43 AM
>         To:     rsync at
>         cc:     (bcc: Tim Conway/LMT/SC/PHILIPS)
>         Subject:        Question on using rsync delete option
>         Classification:
> Greeting.
> I'm so sorry that I launched the previous email by mistake and  before
> had a chance to complete it.  Here is the summary of my previous
> question.
> We would like to use rsync to mirror the contents from our internal
> staging server ( A) to the external website (B) at our ISP without
> delete some existing files on B.
> On server B, we have applications that creates temporary lock files
> customer upload files which I have no ideas what to exclude.    The
> --exclude option would be my last resort, but I just want to know if
> there are better alternatives.
> If I use the --delete option in rsync, all the temporary files at the
> destination B will be deleted.  In contrast, if I don't use the
> option, the destination's temporary files will be intact, but any
> removed from the source, A will not be deleted at the destionation B.
> It seems to me that the --delete option is either all  or none with
> --exclude option as exception.   Maintainning a static  list of
> files would be very difficult and cumbersome for future maintainance.
> I have gone through the FAQ as far back as 2000, but couldn't find any

> similar question.  Would appreciate very much if someone could please
> give me some pointers.  Attached is the rsync command line that I use:

> rsync --verbose --update --progress --stats --compress
> --delete --delete-after
> --recursive --times --perms --links --dry-run --rsh=/usr/local/bin/ssh

> --rsync-path /var/tmp/rsync /export/volx/documents/
> destination_login at hostB:/export/volx  (notice I left dry-run there for

> testing)
> Thank you in advance for your help .
> Andy Lam
> andy.lam at

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