how to put -ii output in log file and not on screen?

Ian! D. Allen idallen at
Fri Apr 24 20:46:45 GMT 2009

What I want is a client-side log file itemized list of *all* the changes
that rsync did on the remote machine.  Using "--log-file" doesn't
show everything.  In particular, --log-file says nothing if the remote
directory was populated using hard links from a --link-dest source.
Any number of remote links and directories can be created, with no
mention of any of it in the log file.

The "-ii" (twice) option does secretly influence what gets logged in the
log file  - it secretly tells rsync to log the files created from the
--link-dest sources, as well as its documented behaviour of displaying
them on standard output.  The man page paragraph for --itemize-changes
hints at this behaviour, though it doesn't say that it affects the log
file output as well as what is sent to standard output:

    "If you repeat the option, unchanged files will also be output"

It's misleading to say "unchanged" files, since --link-dest most certainly
creates directories and changes the link counts of the files it links.

Unfortunately, using "-ii" also spews the thousands of lines of output
uselessly on my screen/stdout, and I only want it in the log file.  How do
I get the full output in the --log-file and not all over my screen?
Yes, I can use "-ii" and redirect the thousands of useless lines of
output to a file or /dev/null, but what a waste of I/O resources!

I tried using "-ii" to increase what I need in the log file but set an
empty --out-format="" (empty string) to suppress the standard output
display (keeping only the log file).  Incredibly, using "-ii" and setting
--out-format="" has the unexpected side-effect of dropping all the
--link-dest entries from the log file!  There is an awkward relationship
between --out-format and file logging that needs better documentation.

Suggested rsync man page corrections:

-v, --verbose
    If you ask for an itemized list of changed attributes (either
    --itemize-changes or adding "%i" to the --out-format setting),
    the output (on the client) increases to mention more items.
    Not mentioned are updates resulting from --link-dest sources,
    unless you double the --itemize-changes option.

    Causes rsync to log into a file some of what it is doing.  Exactly
    what is logged depends on whether the updates involve actual file
    transfers (logged) or links from remote --link-dest sources (not
    logged). Doubling the --itemize-changes option (i.e. "-ii") increases
    what gets logged to the file (--link-dest changes are now logged),
    but also generates duplicate output on standard output.

-i, --itemize-changes
    Requests a simple itemized list of the changes that are being
    made to each file and directory, including attribute changes, but
    not including link count changes or directory creations resulting
    from --link-dest sources. This is exactly the same as specifying
    --out-format='%i %n%L', and explicitly setting --out-format may
    over-ride or cancel the use of --itemize-changes. If you repeat
    the option, unchanged files and changes resulting from --link-dest
    sources will also be output, but only if the receiving rsync is at
    least version 2.6.7. (You can use -vv with older versions of rsync,
    but that also turns on the output of other verbose messages.)
    Repeating this option also simultaneously increases what changes
    are logged via the --log-file option.

    Setting this option to the null string (="") will have the side-effect
    of disabling the all the effects and side-effects of --itemize-changes.

My current work-around is to abandon trying to use --log-file and to
parse the redirected output of "-ii" instead, at least until someone
sets me straight on how I can make *all* the update info appear in the
log file and not on standard output.

| Ian! D. Allen  -  idallen at  -  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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