I just stumbled upon the fact that rsync doesn't preserve at least the ext3 "immutable" flag - while it should do so when using -a, IMHO. Quick test case:

# touch testfile
# chattr +i testfile
# rsync -a testfile testfile2
# lsattr testfile*
----i---------- testfile
--------------- testfile2

The man page of rsync tells about the -a switch:

The files are transferred in "archive" mode, which ensures that symbolic links, devices, attributes, permissions, ownerships, etc. are preserved in the transfer.

Can somebody please shed some light on this: What's meant by "attributes" here if not the attributes of the underlying filesystem? If it really means something other: Is there a possibility to sync ext3 attributes as well?

  • 1
    For clarification: This has nothing to do with extended attributes which could be synced with -X. The immutable flag is an attribute, not an extended attribute.
    – Jonas
    Feb 2, 2011 at 10:28

1 Answer 1


Not going to happen with rsync.

Rsync does it's best to backup any filesystem type and make it look the same on another filesystem type. so chattr +i is pretty ext* specific so rsync ignores those.

Rsync is more worried about permissions and ownership of the file.

You'd have to create some wrapper script around rsync to do that job

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