rsync man pages, rsync faqs, problem with RSYNC_PASSWORD and --password-file

Matt McCutchen matt at
Wed Jan 30 00:53:18 GMT 2008

On Tue, 2008-01-29 at 09:58 -0800, Peter Halverson wrote:
> The problem is that the man pages are misleading, they suggest that 
> RSYNC_PASSWORD and --password-file are the answer.

I don't see any such suggestion in either the rsync 2.6.9 manpage or the
current development one.  Both make it sufficiently clear that
--password-file and RSYNC_PASSWORD are for daemon passwords, not remote
shell passwords:

=== Rsync 2.6.9 manpage: ===

[...] Note that this option is only useful when accessing an rsync
daemon using the built in transport, not when using a remote shell as
the transport.

[...] Note that this does not supply a password to a shell transport
such as ssh.

=== Current development manpage: ===

[...] This option allows you to provide a password in a file for
accessing an rsync daemon.  [...]  When accessing an rsync daemon using
a remote shell as the transport, this option only comes into effect
after the remote shell finishes its authentication (i.e. if you have
also specified a password in the daemon’s config file).

[Same text as rsync 2.6.9 version.]

> The documentation needs to say up front that the right way to do it is 
> to use ssh-keygen on A, to create a public key file  Then to 
> install that key's content in a file on B, in ~/.ssh/authorized_keys.

IMO, such details about a particular remote shell are outside the scope
of the rsync man page.

> This information, in an easily found place, would save many people some 
> time and frustration.

Since version 3.0.0pre1, rsync exits with an error message if the user
tries to use --password-file when a daemon is not involved.  This should


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