rsync --link-dest option with the destination directory containing old files.

David Overton david at
Tue Dec 23 12:45:36 GMT 2008

2008/12/23 Robert Bell <Robert.Bell at>:
> It seems to us that there is a good case for the enhanced functionality.
> "When a file is found in the destination which should be replaced by one
> in the source, look in the --link-dest directory first for a candidate,
> and hard-link that in preference to doing a copy from source to
> destination."

I would also very much like to see this feature.  Indeed, this seems
far more logical than the current --link-dest behaviour and it's what
I assumed --link-dest would do until I read the man page thoroughly
(you have to follow the references back from --link-dest to
--copy-dest and then --compare-dest and even then the only mention of
the actual behaviour is a parenthesised comment "(if the files are
missing in the destination directory)").  I be interested to know what
use cases the current  behaviour was designed for,  because I can't
see any advantage to not making use of the --link-dest file if it's
available.  Providing the proposed alternative behaviour as an extra
option, if not the default for --link-dest, would be very useful.


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