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File::Rsync - perl module interface to rsync(1)


use File::Rsync;
$obj = File::Rsync->new(
archive => 1,
compress => 1,
rsh => '/usr/local/bin/ssh',
'rsync-path' => '/usr/local/bin/rsync'
$obj->exec( src => 'localdir', dest => 'rhost:remotedir' )
or warn "rsync failed\n";


Perl Convenience wrapper for the rsync(1) program. Written for rsync-2.3.2 and updated for rsync-3.1.1 but should perform properly with most recent versions.

$obj = new File::Rsync;
$obj = File::Rsync->new;
$obj = File::Rsync->new(@options);

Create a File::Rsync object. Any options passed at creation are stored in the object as defaults for all future exec calls on that object. Options may be passed in the style of a hash (key/value pairs) and are the same as the long options in rsync(1) without the leading double-hyphen. Any leading single or double-hyphens are removed, and you may use underscore in place of hyphens in option names to simplify quoting and avoid possible equation parsing (subtraction).

Although options are key/value pairs, as of version 0.46 the order is now preserved. Passing a hash reference is still supported for backwards compatibility, but is deprecated as order cannot be preserved for this case.

An additional option of path-to-rsync also exists which can be used to override the using PATH environemt variable to find the rsync command binary, and moddebug which causes the module methods to print some debugging information to STDERR.

There are also 2 options to wrap the source and/or destination paths in double-quotes: these are quote-src and quote-dst, which may be useful in protecting the paths from shell expansion (particularly useful for paths containing spaces). This wraps all source and/or destination paths in double-quotes to limit remote shell expansion. It is similar but not necessarily the same result as the protect-args option in rsync itself.

The outfun and errfun options take a function reference, called once for each line of output from the rsync program with the output line passed in as the first argument, the second arg is either ’out’ or ’err’ depending on the source. This makes it possible to use the same function for both and still determine where the output came from.

If options are passed as a hash reference (deprecated), the exclude needs an array reference as it’s value since there cannot be duplicate keys in a hash. Since order cannot be preserved in a hash, this module currently limits the use of exclude or include together. They can be mixed together if options are in the form of a list or array ref.

Use the ’+ ’ or ’- ’ prefix trick to put includes in an exclude array, or to put excludes in an include array (see rsync(1) for details).

Include/exclude options form an ordered list. The order must be retained for proper execution. There are also source and dest keys. The key src is also accepted as an equivalent to source, and dst or destination may be used as equivalents to dest. The source option may take a scalar or an array reference. If the source is the local system then multiple source paths are allowed. In this case an array reference should be used. There is also a method for passing multiple source paths to a remote system. This method may be triggered in this module by passing the remote hostname to the srchost key and passing an array reference to the source key. If the source host is being accessed via an Rsync server, the remote hostname should have a single trailing colon on the name. When rsync is called, the srchost value and the values in the source array will be joined with a colon resulting in the double-colon required for server access. The dest key only takes a scalar since rsync only accepts a single destination path.

Version 2.6.0 of rsync(1) provides a new files-from option along with a few other supporting options (from0, no-relative, and no-implied-dirs). To support this wonderful new option at the level it deserves, this module now has an additional parameter. As of version 0.46 the value of files-from may be an array reference. The contents of the array are passed to files-from the same as the below method using infun but implemented inside the module.

If files-from is set to ’-’ (meaning read from stdin) you can define infun to be a reference to a function that prints your file list to the default file handle. The output from the function is attached to stdin of the rsync call during exec. If infun is defined it will be called regardless of the value of files-from, so it can provide any data expected on stdin, but keep in mind that stdin will not be attached to a tty so it is not very useful for sending passwords (see the rsync(1) and ssh(1) man pages for ways to handle authentication). The rsync(1) man page has a more complete description of files-from. Also see File::Find for ideas to use with files-from and infun.

The infun option may also be used with the include-from or exclude-from options, but this is generally more clumsy than using the include or exclude arrays.

Version 2.6.3 of rsync(1) provides new options partial-dir, checksum-seed, keep-dirlinks, inplace, ipv4, and ipv6. Version 2.6.4 of rsync(1) provides new options del, delete-before delete-during, delay-updates, dirs, filter, fuzzy, itemize-changes, list-only, omit-dir-times, remove-sent-files, max-size, and protocol.

Version 0.38 of this module also added support for the acls option that is not part of rsync(1) unless the patch has been applied, but people do use it. It also includes a new literal option that takes an array reference similar to include, exclude, and filter. Any arguments in the array are passed as literal arguments to rsync, and are passed first. They should have the proper single or double hyphen prefixes and the elements should be split up the way you want them passed to exec. The purpose of this option is to allow the use of arbitrary options added by patches, and/or to allow the use of new options in rsync without needing an imediate update to the module in addtition to rsync(1) itself.


Set default options for future exec calls for the object. See rsync(1) for a complete list of valid options. This is really the internal method that new calls but you can use it too. The verbose and quiet options to rsync are actually counters. When assigning the perl hash-style options you may specify the counter value directly and the module will pass the proper number of options to rsync.

my $cmd = $obj->getcmd(@options);
my $cmd = $obj->getcmd(\@options);
my ($cmd, $infun, $outfun, $errfun, $debug) = $obj->getcmd(\@options);

getcmd returns a reference to an array containing the real rsync command that would be called if the exec function were called. The last example above includes a reference to the optional stdin function, stdout function, stderr function, and the debug setting. This is the form used by the exec method to get the extra parameters it needs to do its job. The function is exposed to allow a user-defined exec function to be used, or for debugging purposes.

$obj->exec(@options) or warn "rsync failed\n";
$obj->exec(\@options) or warn "rsync failed\n";

This is the method that does the real work. Any options passed to this routine are appended to any pre-set options and are not saved. They effect the current execution of rsync only. In the case of conflicts, the options passed directly to exec take precedence. It returns 1 if the return status was zero (or true), if the rsync return status was non-zero it returns 0 and stores the return status. You can examine the return status from rsync and any output to stdout and stderr with the methods listed below.

$out = $obj->list(@options);
$out = $obj->list(\@options);
@out = $obj->list(\@options);

This is a wrapper for exec called without a destination to get a listing. It returns the output of stdout like the out function below. When no destination is given rsync returns the equivalent of ’ls -l’ or ’ls -lr’ modified by any include/exclude/filter parameters you specify. This is useful for manual comparison without actual changes to the destination or for comparing against another listing taken at a different point in time.

(As of rsync version 2.6.4-pre1 this can also be accomplished with the ’list-only’ option regardless of whether a destination is given.)

$rval = $obj->status;

Returns the status from last exec call right shifted 8 bits.

$rval = $obj->realstatus;

Returns the real status from last exec call (not right shifted).

$aref = $obj->err;

In scalar context this method will return a reference to an array containing all output to stderr from the last exec call, or zero (false) if there was no output. In an array context it will return an array of all output to stderr or an empty list. The scalar context can be used to efficiently test for the existance of output. rsync sends all messages from the remote rsync process and any error messages to stderr. This method’s purpose is to make it easier for you to parse that output for appropriate information.

$aref = $obj->out;

Similar to the err method, in a scalar context it returns a reference to an array containing all output to stdout from the last exec call, or zero (false) if there was no output. In an array context it returns an array of all output to stdout or an empty list. rsync sends all informational messages (verbose option) from the local rsync process to stdout.

$aref = $obj->lastcmd;

Returns the actual system command used by the last exec call, or ’’ before any calls to exec for the object. This can be useful in the case of an error condition to give a more informative message or for debugging purposes. In an array context it return an array of args as passed to the system, in a scalar context it returns a space-seperated string. See getcmd for access to the command before execution.


Lee Eakin <leakin AT dfw DOT nostrum DOT com>


The following people have contributed ideas, bug fixes, code or helped out by reporting or tracking down bugs in order to improve this module since it’s initial release. See the Changelog for details:

Greg Ward

Boris Goldowsky

James Mello

Andreas Koenig

Joe Smith

Jonathan Pelletier

Heiko Jansen

Tong Zhu

Paul Egan

Ronald J Kimball

James CE Johnson

Bill Uhl

Peter teStrake

Harald Flaucher

Simon Myers

Gavin Carr

Petya Kohts

Neil Hooey

Erez Schatz

Max Maischein

Inspiration and Assistance

Gerard Hickey "PGP::Pipe"

Russ Allbery "PGP::Sign"

Graham Barr "Net::*"

Andrew Tridgell and Paul Mackerras rsync(1)

John Steele <steele AT nostrum DOT com>

Philip Kizer <pckizer AT nostrum DOT com>

Larry Wall perl(1)

I borrowed many clues on wrapping an external program from the PGP modules, and I would not have had such a useful tool to wrap except for the great work of the rsync authors. Thanks also to Graham Barr, the author of the libnet modules and many others, for looking over this code. Of course I must mention the other half of my brain, John Steele, and his good friend Philip Kizer for finding rsync and bringing it to my attention. And I would not have been able to enjoy writing useful tools if not for the creator of the perl language.


Copyright (c) 1999-2015 Lee Eakin. All rights reserved.
This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the same terms as Perl itself.