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I need to make a backup on my external hard drive. I looked both at rsync and incremental tar. The problem is that I want my backup to be compressed. With rsync I can only compress the data transfer, but not the result. With tar the result is indeed compressed, but I will have a lot of incremental archives, when I want to have just one compressed file. So, I see 2 options: either I need rsync, that works with compressed target or tar, that creates just one file. Is it possible?

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rsync doesn't have the capability to compress it's target. One possibility is to store your backup copy on a filesystem that supports native transparent compression (for example btrfs) which will provide you with the space saving you are looking for.

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