rsync delete

Matt McCutchen matt at
Sun Nov 4 22:15:18 GMT 2007

On Sun, 2007-11-04 at 13:50 -0800, Jesse Thompson wrote:
> What would be the closest approximation to something like this? 
> # rsync -r --just-nuke-the-target remote::volume/directory
> Is it something that can be done with rsync?

Yes, but it is a bit awkward because rsync considers deletion of an
extraneous destination file to be part of the processing of its parent
directory.  One simple approach is to push a directory to the parent of
"directory" (i.e., the module) and use filters to make the source
effectively empty and to prevent anything other than "directory" from
being deleted from the destination:

rsync -d --del --filter='R /directory' --filter='- /*' . remote::volume

Here is how you would write an "rsyncrm" script that can be invoked like
"rsyncrm -ni remote::volume/directory".  Note that this reveals the
attributes of the current directory to the server.

victim="${@: -1:1}"
rsync -d --del --filter="R /$(basename -- "$victim")" --filter='- /*' \
        "${@:1:$#-1}" . "$(dirname -- "$victim")"


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