controlling what happens to old executables?

Dan Stromberg strombrg at
Wed May 8 08:53:02 EST 2002

We're hoping to switch to updating a large software collection with

Sometimes, we'll be using rsync to push security updates, say for setuid
binaries with a security hole.  In this case, we want rsync to get rid
of the old executable, instead of creating a ~ file or whatever.

Sometimes, we'll be using rsync to push updates to programs that people
want to leave running a long time, like a shell.  In this case, we want
the old binary to be kept around so the user doesn't get a segfault or
something (I know, this depends on just how rsync eliminates the old

Is there any way, with stock rsync, that we can control when a replaced
file is left around for a while, and when a replaced file is removed

Please note that we may have some of both in the same rsync update.


PS: With our current software, all backup files are removed immediately,
unless there's a ".backup" file in the same directory that lists the
file's name.  In that case, the old file is moved to a directory called
"..." for a week prior to being removed.  So security stuff isn't
treated specially, and shells (for example) are listed in a .backup

Dan Stromberg                                               UCI/NACS/DCS
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