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I know rsync has an --exclude option which I use quite frequently. But how can I specify that it should exclude all "numeric" directories?

In the directory listing below I would like to only have it copy css,html,and include


Normally my syntax is something like

rsync -avz /local/path/ user@server:/remote/path/ --exclude="cache"

I think it should look something like --exclude="[0-9]*" but I don't think that will work.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 3 down vote accepted

rsync's exclude option doesn't really support regex, it's more of a shell globbing pattern matching.

if those directories are fairly static, you should just list them in a file, and use --exclude-from=/full/path/to/file/exclude_directories.txt.

Updated to provide example

First, you just put the directories into a file:

find . -type d -regex '.*/[0-9]*$' -print > /tmp/rsync-dir-exlcusions.txt


( cat <<EOT
EOT ) > /tmp/rsync-directory-exclusions.txt

then you can do your rsync work

rsync -avHp --exlude-from=/tmp/rsync-directory-exclusions.txt /path/to/source/ /path/to/dest/

You just need an extra step to set up the text file that contains the exclude directories, 1 per line.

keep in mind that the path of the directories in the job, is their relative path to how rsync see's the directory.

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You could use a script which uses a regex to create this file before running the rsync – Rory Alsop Oct 5 '11 at 15:57
Could you give an example as an answer? – cwd Oct 5 '11 at 18:27
just updated to include an example, including what @RoryAlsop suggested combined with what thiton suggested below. – Tim Kennedy Oct 5 '11 at 19:40

You can't say “a name that contains only digits” in rsync's pattern syntax. So include all names that contain a non-digit and exclude the rest.

rsync --include='*[!0-9]*' --exclude='*/' …

See also my rsync pattern guide.

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thanks for the link to your rsync pattern guide. – Tim Kennedy Oct 6 '11 at 14:56

You can do it in one line:

rsync -avHp --exclude-from=<(cd /path/to/source; find . -type d -regex './[0-9]*' | sed -e 's|./||') /path/to/source/ /path/to/dest/
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Use find to make a list of the directories to be excluded, then use rsync's --exclude-from option as Tim Kennedy described it.

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