rsync 3.0.5 Appears to be Transferring Unchanged Files

Norbert Hoeller nhoeller at
Sat Jun 19 16:48:55 MDT 2010

I have been using backuppc (rsync protocol) to backup up a Linux web 
server onto a local server for a number of years.  I recall that data 
volumes were quite low (about 40MB), regardless of whether I was doing 
full or incremental backups.  I recently switched to both a new web server 
and backuppc server.  Early morning traffic volumes when backuppc runs are 
much higher than expected - I have seen volumes as high as 450MB.  Full 
backups appear to drive particularly high volumes, although an incremental 
backup after cloning a bunch of MediaWiki installations also transferred 
large amounts of data.  As far as I can tell, backuppc itself seems to be 
working fine and reports that the most files are identical to already 
backed up files. 

Many things have changed.  I am backing up a virtual private server with 
more files.  The backup server is a 'plug computer' with an ARM processor 
running Ubuntu 9.04, backuppc 3.1.0 and rsync 3.0.5.  The web server is 
running CentOS 5 with rsync 2.6.9.  Unfortunately, the old web and backup 
servers are no longer available. 

I enabled verbose logging and itemized-changes and ran two full backups. 
Both logs showed a large number of  entries similar to the following.  If 
I read the line correctly, these files were transferred, the type is a 
file, and the remaining attributes are unknown (possible rsync mismatch). 
2010/06/19 16:12:44 [7321] <f????????? 
2010/06/19 16:12:44 [7321] <f????????? 

I upgraded the web server to rsync 3.0.5 but that does not appear to have 
reduced data volumes and the log file entries are unchanged

A 'du' on the web server indicates that there are about 32MB of files. 
None of these files have changed recently.  Statistics at the end of the 
2010/06/19 16:13:04 [7321] total: matches=8154  hash_hits=19066 
false_alarms=26 data=8005565
2010/06/19 16:13:04 [7321] sent 8248288 bytes  received 143322 bytes total 
size 22385893

I am using default rsync options on backuppc:
rsync --server --sender --numeric-ids --perms --owner --group -D --links 
--hard-links --times --block-size=2048 --recursive . /var/<symlink>/

Any suggestions on how I can debug this problem? 
        Thanks, Norbert

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