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I'm trying to set up an rsync that excludes all .* files except for .htaccess but unfortunately, this doesn't work:

rsync -avP --exclude=".*" --include="./.htaccess" ./. user@server:/dir

Is it possible to somehow exclude general exclude rules?

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The first matching rule applies, so include .htaccess before excluding .*.

rsync -avP --include=".htaccess" --exclude=".*" . user@server:/dir

This copies .htaccess at every level. I don't know what you intended with ./.htaccess; if you want to match a file at the root of the copy only, start the pattern with a /. If you only want the root .htaccess, you can't just use --include='/.htaccess' --exclude='.*', because the non-rooted rule actually takes precedence here, you need to do something more complicated:

rsync -avP --exclude='/*/**/.htaccess' --include='.htaccess' --exclude=".*" . user@server:/dir

Further reading: basic principles for rsync filters.

  • @fred.bear: That one was a genuine typo, and a nasty one. Thanks for spotting it! – Gilles Apr 11 '11 at 12:22
  • Thanks, I had tried putting the --include first, but the "./" in front of the "./.htaccess" was what was killing it. – Rich Apr 11 '11 at 18:26
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    @Rich note that if there are hidden directories that contain a .htaccess file, you'll have to --include='.*/' (I think) before the final --exclude, see also here – Tobias Kienzler Nov 19 '12 at 14:47

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