preserving Mac OS X metadata in rsync backups and restores

Robert DuToit rdutoit at
Sat Jan 19 10:23:06 GMT 2008

On Jan 18, 2008, at 11:38 PM, Moritz Heckscher wrote:

> Am 2008-01-19 um 05:31 schrieb Matt McCutchen:
>> On Sat, 2008-01-19 at 05:12 +0100, Moritz Heckscher wrote:
>>> Using the following options for rsync:
>>> --archive --hard-links --acls --xattrs --executability --numeric-ids
>>> I get the following output from backup-bouncer: [...]
>>> Verifying:            bsd-flags ... FAIL
>> BSD flags are handled by flags.diff in rsync- 
>> patches-3.0.0pre8.tar.gz .
>>> Verifying:         finder-locks ... FAIL
>> A request for enhancement was recently entered for finder locks:
>> But Wayne says he thinks they are handled by flags.diff too.
>>> Verifying:        creation-date ... FAIL
>> Creation dates are handled by osx-create-time.diff .
> Thanks for mentioning those diffs. I'll try tomorrow and report here.

  I did some extensive testing with the osx-create-time.diff  patch on  
OS10.4.11 and 10.5.1 and it works pretty well except it takes twice as  
long for a 10+GB simple backup to an external drive (once it just  
slowed down to a dead stop and I gave up.)I tried Mike Bombich's  
version of rsync that he made for his new excellent Carbon Copy Cloner  
(just the rsync tool itself) and it saved the creation dates with  
little loss in efficiency. Not sure how he did that. I made some  
wrapper apps for rsync and get a lot of requests for creation dates  
saved from people and, though personally it isn't an issue for me, it  
would be nice for OSX folk to have that work well. Besides that I am  
grateful for rsync 3 and all the work you have all done. I also made a  
wrapper for Nat Gray's backup-bouncer and my tests verify Moritz's  
results too. Rsync 3 is a huge improvement over the apple version.

Also I use the current pre8 version for incremental backups of my 20GB  
Home folder every night using --link-dest=DIR. I set it for a  
revolving cycle of 30 backups and they work perfectly every time  
creating exact snapshots that take a few minutes at most, after the  
initial large copy. This is not the case with the apple supplied rsync  
that re-copies certain files over and over without creating hard  
links. I made a wrapper for this if any one is interested (not tested  
much on networks.) So thanks!

Rob D

PS Time machine has not worked well for me, grinding to halt when  
encountering certain troublesome files and havn't been able to work  
out the problem so just use rsync 3 instead!

>>> Verifying:                 fifo ... FAIL
>>> Verifying:              devices ... FAIL
>> These are supposed to work with --archive, at least if rsync runs as
>> root.  In any event, you probably don't care about these if you're  
>> just
>> backing up user data.
> Yes, I was expecting this to work. I did run as root (using sudo)  
> and also tried --device and --specials, but these are already  
> included in --archive. Hm, I'll run it again tomorrow, maybe I've  
> messed up somehow (it's 05:30 in the morning...).
>>> Adding --fake-super to the options of rsync doesn't help:
>> Naturally, because that option makes rsync wrap the source metadata  
>> in
>> an rsync-specific extended attribute that it sets on the destination
>> file, whereas the checker tool is expecting the real destination
>> metadata to be set.
> Yes, that absolutely makes sense. I shouldn't have included the  
> output here. Obviously one would need a second "recover" step using  
> rsync before checking with the tool.
>> Matt
> Thanks for your fast help, I'm learning a lot!
> -Moritz
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