Assistance With "Symlink Has No Referent" Message

Jon Watson jwatson at
Tue Jul 14 14:17:44 MDT 2009

Hi All,

I am using rsync to backup one server to another. I am connecting to the 
rsync daemon on the remote server and pulling to the backup server. When 
using SSH this error does not occur, but there are reasons why I have to 
use rsync directly.

The problem I am having is that some of the symlinks on the remote 
machine will not copy. I am attempting to copy their referent by using 
the -L option, but I always receive the subject error despite the fact 
that the referent does actually exist.

Sample remote side files:

drwxr-xr-x  8 adam web64 4096 Sep 24  2008 .
drwxr-xr-x 92 root      root  4096 Jun 10 13:32 ..
lrwxrwxrwx  1 root      root    38 Sep 24  2008 Maildir -> 

Rsync call from backup server:

/usr/bin/rsync  -Lrvz --copy-unsafe-links /nfsmount/test

Error messages from backup server:

symlink has no referent: "/Maildir" (in www)
rsync error: some files could not be transferred (code 23) at 
main.c(1538) [generator=3.0.0]

Showing the referents do actually exist on the remote server:

# ls -al Maildir
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 38 Sep 24  2008 Maildir -> 

# ls Maildir/
cur            dovecot.index.cache  dovecot-uidlist  subscriptions
dovecot.index  dovecot.index.log    new              tmp

# ls -dal /home/www/web64/user/adam/Maildir
drwx------ 6 adam web64 4096 Jul 10 15:39 /home/www/web64/user/adam/Maildir

My rsyncd.conf file has uid = root and gid = nobody for this path.

I've played around with -l, -k, -K, and the --copy-links, 
--copy-unsafe-links, --copy-safe-links options and always get the same 
messages. I'm fairly convinced that I just need the -L option, but I 
can't get it to work for some reason.

Can someone point me in the right direction?



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