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I have been searching for a while and I can't find the definition of a regular file. My path is permanent (I start at /) and I am connecting to

scp root@IP: /path/to/picture.jpg

Results in an inquiry for a password and then...

scp: .: not a regular file
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4 Answers 4

up vote 14 down vote accepted

A regular file is a file that isn't a directory or more exotic kinds of “special” files such as named pipes, devices, sockets, doors, etc. Symbolic links are not regular files either, but they behave like their target when it an application is accessing the content of the file.

You passed root@IP: as the source of the copy and /path/to/picture.jpg as the destination. The source is the home directory of the user root on the machine IP. This is useful as a destination, but not as a source. What you typed required to copy a directory onto a file; scp cannot copy a directory unless you ask for a recursive copy with the -r option (and it would refuse to overwrite an existing file with a directory even with -r, but it would quietly overwrite a regular file if the source was a regular file).

If /path/to/picture.jpg is the path on the remote machine of the file you want to copy, you need to stick the file name to the host specification. It's the colon : that separates the host name from the remote path. You'll need to specify a destination as well.

scp root@IP:/path/to/picture.jpg /some/destination

If you want to copy the local file /path/to/picture.jpg to the remote host, you need to swap the arguments. Unix copy commands put the source(s) first and the destination last.

scp /path/to/picture.jpg root@IP:

If you want to copy the remote file /path/to/picture.jpg to the same location locally, you need to repeat the path. You can have your shell does the work of repeating for you (less typing, less readability).

scp root@IP:/path/to/picture.jpg /path/to/picture.jpg
scp {root@IP:,}/path/to/picture.jpg
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When copying a directory u need to use a -r option:

scp -r root@IP:/path/to/file /path/to/filedestination
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syntax issue - remove the white space between

root@IP:

and

/path

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But, then you don't have a target for scp anymore. –  Bernhard Oct 23 '12 at 6:07
    
yup. i pressed enter too quickly and lack the rep to fix it. surprised i can even comment here. cheers. –  lurker Oct 23 '12 at 7:53
    
I think you can always comment to your own contributions, and I thought you could also always edit them? –  Bernhard Oct 23 '12 at 8:00
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scp root@IP:/path/to/file /path/to/filedestination

Above command copies a file from remote server to your computer. If you type only scp root@IP: it will try to copy the home directory of root (scp users home .).

So you need to provide the exact path to the file

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This worked. Thanks a bunch, man. Keep it up! –  JeffM Oct 23 '12 at 5:00
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