DO NOT REPLY [Bug 5647] New: A way to make earlier --compare-dest dirs hide later ones

samba-bugs at samba-bugs at
Tue Jul 29 19:37:38 GMT 2008

           Summary: A way to make earlier --compare-dest dirs hide later
           Product: rsync
           Version: 3.1.0
          Platform: All
        OS/Version: All
            Status: NEW
          Severity: enhancement
          Priority: P3
         Component: core
        AssignedTo: wayned at
        ReportedBy: matt at
         QAContact: rsync-qa at

Suppose I have a series of sparse incremental backups and I want to make a new
backup, specifying all the previous ones as --compare-dest dirs.  Any source
file that differs from its last recorded state in the backup series should be
copied to the destination.  However, in the current --compare-dest
implementation, the file is only copied if it differs from *all* recorded
states.  Thus, if the file is changed and then reverted, the reversion won't be
represented in the backup series.

To fix this, we need a way to make --compare-dest dirs specified earlier on the
command line hide later ones.  Then the correct result is obtained by listing
the previous backups in order from newest to oldest.  Wayne suggested a while
ago that this new behavior should become the default:

I'm not so sure because I have a use case for the current behavior.  In
reviewing obsolete versions of my Web site for content that I might want to
keep, I had several trees with some differences among them.  I wanted to
identify files in one tree that were not matched in any of the other trees and
copy them to a new tree for review, so I used multiple --compare-dest dirs and
relied on rsync to omit files matched in any of the dirs.  Wayne, if this use
case isn't important enough, please feel free to change this report from an
enhancement to a bug and change the default behavior.

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