Is there a way to force rsync to be monothreaded (ie to don't fork)?

Matt McCutchen matt at
Thu Feb 21 20:03:24 GMT 2008

On Thu, 2008-02-21 at 08:22 +0100, Vitorio wrote:
> the questio is all in the subject: Is there a way to force rsync to  
> be monothreaded (ie to don't fork)?
> The reason for this is that the Carbon API isn't fork-safe and  
> fonction calls I do to the pretiger resource fork randomly don't work  
> when rsync forks, what's annoying.

> PS: I'm running rsync locally, not with a server. I don't know if  
> this is important nor if it's the cause of the fork.

There are two forks on a local run: the sender forks off the generator,
and the generator forks off the receiver.  You can eliminate the first
fork by accessing either the source or the destination via ssh to
localhost (or, equivalently, "support/lsh" in the rsync source tree).

The second fork is a bigger problem, as rsync's mode of operation relies
on having separate generator and receiver processes.  There used to be a
maintained patch "threaded-receiver.diff" that made the generator and
receiver two threads in the same process instead of two separate
processes (Jamie may have been referring to this patch), but Wayne
discontinued it on December 15, 2006.  The old version can still be
obtained from the rsync CVS repository as follows:

cvs -d :pserver:cvs at co -r1.36 \

but I'm guessing that updating it for rsync 3.0.0 would be a lot of
work.  And I don't know if using threads instead of processes will make
the Carbon implementation happy.  I can think of three other potential

(1) Look into having the forked-off receiver process re-"exec" itself so
it becomes an independent process.  You'll have to find a way to carry
over the command-line arguments, filter rules, and first file-list

(2) Move the Carbon code into a separate program, and have the generator
and receiver each start an instance of this program as a subprocess to
do the actual work of accessing attributes.  This solution requires the
least messing with the guts of rsync but may have a significant
performance penalty.

(3) Use a custom version of rsync with xattr abbreviation disabled.
Split every rsync run into two, the first without -X and the second with
-X.  The first run will do the file transfers.  The second run will set
the xattrs; since the receiver is neither handling abbreviated xattrs
nor creating files, it won't make any xattr calls and the problem will
be avoided.  Unfortunately, this solution is ugly for the user.


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