I'm porting a script from ubuntu to alpine linux 3.4 (docker image). I can't seem to find a way to do "cp --backup=numbered" in alpine. Is there any way to install a more complete "cp"? Thanks

2 Answers 2


I think I found the answer to this one... apk add --upgrade coreutils It seems that --backup is an option of GNU coreutils, which is not installed by default in the alpine linux 3.4 docker image. Adding it via the command above sorted it.

  • Would this partially defeat the purpose of alpine? Would this upgrade every linux utility? ping, nc, find, grep etc?
    – Ray Foss
    Commented Jul 11, 2018 at 14:03
  • @ray Yes, it would partially defeat the purpose of alpine, but none of those specific tools are part of coreutils
    – Auspex
    Commented Jun 4, 2019 at 13:34

Alpine Linux uses busybox, which has a built-in cp command, as well as other commands. For GNU commands, they can be easily installed via apk package manager.

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