Is --sparse suitable for general purpose use?

Kevin Korb kmk at
Wed Sep 5 09:57:34 MDT 2012

Hash: SHA1

Sparse doesn't work on some filesystems (explained in man rsync).
Other than that it is fine.  Any file that has a big chunk of null
characters will be written sparsely and take up less space.

Note that you can't always use it when restoring.  Do not restore
/boot with --sparse or you will find that grub can't read the kernel.

On 09/05/12 11:45, Karl O. Pinc wrote:
> Hi,
> I'm using rsync with --link-dest to do backups. I don't have any
> sparse files, but someday I might. Should I be using --sparse?
> I notice that -S is not implied by -a.  This makes me suspicious
> that --sparse is not (yet?) suitable for general purpose use.
> There also seem to be outstanding bugs related to --sparse.
> Thanks.
> Karl <kop at> Free Software:  "You don't pay back, you pay
> forward." -- Robert A. Heinlein

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