rsync is an open source utility that provides fast incremental file transfer. It copies files either to or from a remote host, or locally on the current host (it does not support copying files between two remote hosts). It has many more options than rcp, and uses the rsync remote-update protocol to greatly speed up file transfers when the destination file already exists.
rsync uses a delta-transfer algorithm which provides a very fast method for bringing remote files into sync. It does this by sending just the differences in the files across the link, without requiring that both sets of files are present at one of the ends of the link beforehand. At first glance this may seem impossible because the calculation of diffs between two files normally requires local access to both files.
The rsync remote-update protocol allows rsync to transfer just the differences between two sets of files across the network link.
- Can update whole directory trees and filesystems.
- Optionally preserves symbolic links, hard links, file ownership, permissions, devices and times.
- Requires no special privileges to install.
- Internal pipelining reduces latency for multiple files.
- Can use rsh, ssh or direct sockets as the transport.
- Exclude and exclude-from options similar to GNU tar.
- Supports anonymous or authenticated rsync daemons which is ideal for mirroring.
- A CVS exclude mode for ignoring the same files that CVS would ignore.
- Can use any transparent remote shell, including ssh or rsh.
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