rsycnc copies all files

Wallace Matthews wmatthews at
Thu Jun 17 13:06:38 GMT 2004

I dont agree that you have to always use -c. I have done extensive testing without it and then repeated the tests with it to see how much load it puts on the servers. In my tests when I am not using -c, I send the resulting file back to the system that originated it but to a different directory and then diff it with the original. I have proved to myself that the md4 checksum protection is quite robust and I can vouch that 2.6.2 on Redhat 9.1 does not require -c to work correctly.

Yes, learning rsync is an uphill struggle. I also think it would be nice if someone like o'reilly had a book that was a well written tutorial. 

Unfortunately, rsync is so rich in functionality, that the sparse documentation that is on line is so intimidating that many experienced users avoid rsync. My boss had ruled it out initially because he is a unix guru and was so confused after reading the man pages that he threw up his hands and said it wasnt an option. Writing more complete documentation for the man pages or --help would only make that a greater issue. 

It would be nice if the rsync web page had a pointer to a well written tutorial with examples of how to get started. I am thinking about the various Java books from Sun Swing. They are large and bulky and do not cover all the aspects of Swing. But, if you follow the path they cut through the material, you arrive at the ability to take side paths of your own design and get functional results.

Unfortunately, if you approach rsync from the normal IT perspective (read the manual, implement a solution, forget it, move on to the next task), you will invariably be frustrated. Rsync is not a simple utility like rcp or ls. It is more like Java's Swing library where you can spend your whole career in it and still not have it mastered.


-----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Halliday [mailto:StuartH at]
Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2004 6:38 AM
To: Gareth; rsync
Subject: Re: rsycnc copies all files

> I am making an extraordinary claim: rysnc seems to copy all my files, 
> not just ones that have changed or new files.
> rsync version 2.6.0  protocol version 27
> Debian 3.0 Woody
> I have tested this with one simple file, my example is shown below.
> Does anyone have any suggestions to rectify this?

Always use option -c or -t as it doesn't seem to work correctly otherwise.

The use of -a (equivalent to rlptgoD)

which is:
recurse into directories
copy symlinks as symlinks
preserve permissions
preserve times
preserve group
preserve owner (root only)
preserve devices (root only)

seems to be the ideal default.

The documents are awful aren't they?
They talk about rsync ability to transfer files using only the changed aspects. But the docs don't tell you that it doesn't do this by default!
This hads me puzzled for many an hour.

Learning rsync is like climbing a mountain with no shoes - slow and painful.

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