RFE: extend --keep-dirlinks to files also

Hendrik Maryns hendrik at sfs.uni-tuebingen.de
Tue Jul 8 13:28:35 GMT 2008

Matt McCutchen schreef:
> On Mon, 2008-07-07 at 12:49 +0200, Hendrik Maryns wrote:
>> I just read the thread 
>> http://lists.samba.org/archive/rsync/2004-June/009678.html which 
>> describes how --keep-dirlinks came to be.  My use case is similar, but 
>> I’d like a similar option for files as well.
>> Setup: in my public_html I have some symlinks which I send over as 
>> files, with -L (for various reasons: partly, because they are copies of 
>> current work which is done elsewhere, or because several websites use 
>> the same files, such as SSI footers).  However, I also want to check 
>> whether my colleague changed the files on the server, so first I do an 
>> update.  However, this replaces the links with the files themselves.
>> My current usage is:
>> # First look whether stuff changed on the other side (shouldn’t)
>> # rsync -rtKPuzb webserver:public_html/ /home/hendrik/public_html/Hendrik/
>> # Then put changes from here.
>> rsync -rtkKLPzC --delete --delete-excluded 
>> --exclude-from=/home/hendrik/.website-exclude 
>> /home/hendrik/public_html/Hendrik/ webserver:public_html
>> As you can see, I have the first line commented out, because it replaces 
>> symlinks.  I’d like something similar to --keep-dirlinks which follows 
>> links on the receiver and compares the files linked to with those sent.
>> Is this possible, or is it an RFE?
> If files aren't supposed to change directly on the server, it seems to
> me that you could just drop the first command, add -uvv to the second
> command, watch for any "FILE is newer" messages, and handle those files
> manually.  If files do change, consider using the two-way synchronizer
> Unison ( http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/unison/ ); it can update
> files through symlinks, but I don't think it has an equivalent to
> --delete-excluded.

Files can change.  Rarely, but my collaborators may want to make 
changes.  I think I’ll go for the -uvv option for now, but it would 
really be nicer if the files that are linked to on the receiver were 

Hm, I think I’ll grep the output of rsync for ‘newer’.

> A --keep-links option may still be worth having in rsync.  Updating a
> file atomically through a symlink is nontrivial (one has to readlink the
> chain of symlinks and combine the paths to find the ultimate location to
> rename to), but Unison implements this, so I don't see why rsync
> couldn't.

Should I put an RFE somewhere officially?

Hendrik Maryns

SFB 441 Linguistische Datenstrukturen
Seminar für Sprachwissenschaft
Universität Tübingen
Nauklerstraße 35
72074 Tübingen
+497071 29-72732

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