rsync 2.5.6 timeout bug

jw schultz jw at
Thu Jul 31 08:47:07 EST 2003

On Wed, Jul 30, 2003 at 11:23:17PM +0100, Alan Burlison wrote:
> I've been getting frequent io errors trying to synchronise a local CPAN 
> mirror with the master on, the symptoms being the dreaded
> rsync: connection unexpectedly closed (0 bytes read so far)
> rsync error: error in rsync protocol data stream (code 12) at io.c(165)
> message at the client end.  I've replicated this when mirroring from a 
> local CPAN mirror, and the issue seems to be that the server is timing out 
> after it has sent the file list to the client but before the client has 
> started transferring files.
> Despite what the documentation says about the default IO timeout being 
> infinite (0), inspection of the code would seem to indicate otherwise:
> [io.c]
> /** If no timeout is specified then use a 60 second select timeout */
> #define SELECT_TIMEOUT 60
> :
> tv.tv_sec = io_timeout?io_timeout:SELECT_TIMEOUT;
> tv.tv_usec = 0;

Look further.

> I haven't crawled through the initialisation code to find out exactly how 
> io_timeout gets set, but examination of rsync in daemon mode with a 
> debugger reveals that it is using a timeout of 60 seconds when no --timeout 
> is specified by the client and there is no timeout value in rsyncd.conf.
> The consequence of this is that is the client doesn't respond within 60 
> seconds (and as CPAN contains >34,000 files it often doesn't), the server 
> process exits, and the client then gets an unexpected EOF.  I've checked 
> with the admin of, and he doesn't have a timeout set in 
> rsyncd.conf, so it seems that the actual value being used is 60 seconds, 
> hence the failures.

The 60 second timeout is only on select.  The internal
io_timeout is only evaluated for connection termination in
check_timeout() which does not use the SELECT_TIMEOUT.

> I'm also not clear exactly how the client and server timeout values 
> interact, the rsyncd.conf entry says:
> The "timeout" option allows you to override the clients choice for IO 
> timeout for this module,
> which implies that the client timeout value (if specified) is passed across 
> the wire and is used by the server - is this really what is supposed to 
> happen?  If so, experimentation suggests that it might be broken as well.

That is what really happens.  The client specified timeout
is passed over the wire for use by the server but if the
server has a value specified in rsyncd.conf that value will
override the client.

> I'm happy to fix these problems if someone can confirm that I'm on the 
> right track and my understanding is correct.  I'm currently completely 
> unable to use rsync to reliably mirror CPAN to the inside of our corporate 
> firewall, so I have a strong vested interest in fixing these issues.
> Once again, please reply direct as I'm not on the list.

I'd suggest you join the list.  There isn't that much
traffic on it and you can un-subscribe easily.

I'd also suggest the admin of that site set a timeout value.
An unlimited timeout invites DOS attacks.

	J.W. Schultz            Pegasystems Technologies
	email address:		jw at

		Remember Cernan and Schmitt

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