DO NOT REPLY [Bug 5789] New: rsync trying to set times on symlinks

samba-bugs at samba-bugs at
Tue Sep 23 22:30:36 GMT 2008

           Summary: rsync trying to set times on symlinks
           Product: rsync
           Version: 3.0.4
          Platform: x86
        OS/Version: Mac OS X
            Status: NEW
          Severity: normal
          Priority: P3
         Component: core
        AssignedTo: wayned at
        ReportedBy: paredes at
         QAContact: rsync-qa at


Recently we found ourselves needing to use over 70 symbolic links [all within
the documents area] on our website. These symlinks generate the annoying
"rsync: failed to set permissions on "/linkpath/linkfile.php": Permission
denied (13)" when I run a cron with "rsync -azPHO --rsync-path=/usr/local/rsync
--links -e ssh remote.machine:/source/  target". 

Interestingly, a verbose output returns the following:

[output snipped]
set modtime of Linkfile.php to (1219952074) Thu Aug 28 15:34:34 2008
rsync: failed to set times on
"/library/webserver/documents/obgynwiki/linkfile.php": Permission denied (13)
[more output snipped]

The symlinks do transfer correctly from source but rsync insists in changing
the timestamps. I know that symlink timestamps can't be changed. So I've spent
a week trying to prevent rsync from changing symlink timestamps by
systematically editing rsync.c near lines 462 & and near line 230
in an attempt to circumvent either preserve_times or lutines without success. I
even changed the default umask to recreate the symlinks hoping the problem
would go away. I've also followed the 540 relevant rsync mail list topics on

I'm currently using rsync 3.0.4 with the fileflags.diff & crtimes.diff patches
on OS-X 10.5.5.

Bill Paredes
Computer Based Education
Albert Einstein College of Medicine

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