rsync --delete isn't deleting files

Matt McCutchen matt at
Sun Aug 10 22:16:31 GMT 2008

On Sun, 2008-08-10 at 23:04 +0100, Tiago Marques wrote:
> It worked, --delete-excluded was all that was missing.
> I really think this should be the implied behavior and would like to
> see it as default, if there really isn't a good reason for it being
> this way.

The current behavior is useful if files matching a given pattern simply
should not be processed at all.  E.g., one could use --exclude='*.o' to
copy source files from one build tree to another without affecting any
object files so that the destination can then do its own incremental
rebuilding.  I imagine that before the full --filter support was added
in rsync 2.6.4, --exclude without --delete-excluded was the only way to
protect destination files from deletion.

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