preserving Mac OS X metadata in rsync backups and restores

Moritz Heckscher moritz.heckscher at
Fri Jan 18 16:14:39 GMT 2008

Hello all,

I'm new to the list, but have done quite a bit of researching before  
regarding the support of Mac OS X specific features (resource forks,  
extended attributes, ACLs, file creation & modification date).

By reading the archives, I get the impression that the current  
version of rsync 3.0.0pre8 is quite far in this respect. At least it  
sounds so, and I thank the developers very much for this! I like your  
approach much more than the (very buggy) one originally pursued by  
Apple (store metadata in separate ._ file).

I plan to do the following:

* Run a Linux server (Ubuntu, I guess, on a ext3 partition) with two  
separate internal ATA hard disks formatted in XFS and configured in  
software RAID to store the actual backup data. (As I understand, I  
should use XFS rather than ext3 because XFS supports extended  
attributes large enough to hold also larger converted Mac resource  

* Back up from different Mac OS X clients (cuurently all on 10.4, but  
I might upgrade them to 10.5 later) to the server using rsync over  
ssh. This should hopefully preserve (most of) the Mac-specifif  
metadata on the server. (Actually I plan to use rsnapshot, but I  
believe if I have rsync installed in the newest version and possibly  
tell rsnaphot to use the appropriate rsync options, things will be  
the same.)

Now my question is the following:

1) What would I have to do to ensure the metadata is also restored  
correctly? I assume I will have to use rsync for restoring also, and  
if I just copy over data (using, e.g, scp or over an AFP or CIFS or  
NFS network mount), I will lose this metadata. Is this correct?

Another problem I'm thinking about is that rsnapshot should be run on  
the server to "pull" the backups over the network. One cannot run it  
on the clients and "push" the data to the server over the network --  
which is what I'd prefer because I plan to not leave the server on  
all day but rather have it woken up by the (laptop) clients when  
needed who'll take care of the scheduling of the backups (using  
anachron or launchd etc.) One could, however, run rsnapshot on the  
clients to backup onto a locally attached storage device.

This leads me to the second question:

2) If I mount the server as a network drive on the clients using AFP,  
SMB/CIFS, NFS, ..., and then backup to this 'locally attached' drive  
with rsync (using rsnapshot), will I lose the metadata because of the  
transfer via the SMB/... layer?

Thanks a lot for a great program!

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