Problem retrieving file starting with '-' character from top of repository

Tim Bruijnzeels tim at
Thu Dec 23 02:13:14 MST 2010

On 12/22/10 6:08 PM, Wayne Davison wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 1:53 AM, Tim Bruijnzeels <tim at
> <mailto:tim at>> wrote:
>     There seems to be a problem when trying to retrieve a file that
>     starts with a '-' character, if it lives in the top of an rsync
>     repository:
> If the file gets requested by name on the command-line, then popt will
> interpret it as an option, which will cause a problem.  I don't see how
> the daemon protocol you cited could fail, though, since it always sends
> the file names over the daemon protocol. For a non-daemon file request,
> the issue can be avoided by requesting the name with a dot-slash at the
> start (or using --protect-args in newer rsync versions).  For instance:
>    rsync -aiv localhost:./-fails /dest/
> ..wayne..

Hi Wayne,

first of all I don't know the implementation internals of rsync so I am 
sorry if my suspicions are off the ball and/or misleading.

Having said that I do know that - is generally used for options on the 
command line so I tried a number of ways to avoid using the character as 
such in the first place:
  - by using -- to indicate no more arguments
  - by using \ to quote the -
  - by using ' marks around the URI
  - by using ? instead of the - character
  - by using * instead of the - character

None of these attempts made a difference. --protect-args when used with 
a 3.0.7 command line client did not make a difference either.

Also, this does not explain why it would be safe to say:

rsync://remote-host/repo-base/deeper/-file   or
rsync://remote-host/repo-base/./-file	(which indeed works)

and not:


The - is still there so why is it now not seen as an argument?

In any case thank you for the advice to use './' in front of '-' files. 
I think I can use this as a general work-around in our client code that 
needs to access files directly in remote rsync repositories. Since I 
have no way of knowing for sure, without extra work, as a remote client, 
where the actual top of the repository is I'd be doing stuff like this 
as well:


which also works...

I still believe I should not have to worry about this though. I am not 
convinced the problem is between my shell and my rsync client, so I 
would prefer that my local client and remote server work it out between 


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