[NBLUG/talk] fear of rsync

Kyle Rankin kyle at nblug.org
Wed May 3 08:57:45 PDT 2006

On Wed, May 03, 2006 at 08:52:25AM -0700, Bob Blick wrote:
> I fear rsync. I know everyone says it's the thing to use for backups, but
> that's exactly why I fear it. I'm afraid that when I use it to backup an
> important directory onto an empty external drive, it will sync in the
> wrong direction and make both directories equally empty.
> Can this happen if I type things wrong? What else can go wrong? What's the
> correct magic spell?
> >From paranoia-land,
> Bob

Rsync is a one-way sync tool unlike some of the other tools like unison
which are two way. Unless you pass rsync the --delete option, it will only
add files that don't exist to the target (or rather, files that don't exist
or updates files).

However, if you want to set up a backup scheme, I highly recommend trying
out backuppc (http://backuppc.sf.net). It's Perl-based and can use Rsync,
tar, or some other methods to backup both Linux, Windows, and Mac systems.
I've been using for a little bit and have been really pleased. There are
also .debs for it so if you use Debian you can just apt-get install

Kyle Rankin
NBLUG President
The North Bay Linux Users Group
IRC: greenfly at irc.freenode.net #nblug 
kyle at nblug.org

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