I have inherited a Centos 6.5 system which is outputting multiple lines of errors when running an rsync. The rsync is syncing to a locally attached drive mounted as /storage. The command is:

rsync -aAXv /* /storage/backup/ --exclude={/dev/*,/proc/*,/sys/*,/tmp/*,/run/*,/mnt/*,/media/*,/lost+found,/storage/*}

There are three different types of errors noted following # Error concern 1, # Error concern 2, # Error concern 3 in the output below:

rsync -aAXv /* /storage/backup/ --exclude={/dev/*,/proc/*,/sys/*,/tmp/*,/run/*,/mnt/*,/media/*,/lost+found,/storage/*}
sending incremental file list


# Error concern 1: There are probably 80 or more of these mkstemp errors, but I've shortened it:

rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_pointer/perms/.setfocus.0C5BYW" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_pointer/perms/.use.iRMquA" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_pointer/perms/.write.rHXg0d" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_property/.index.Zwc8vR" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_property/perms/.append.tTK01u" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_property/perms/.create.KGNUx8" failed: Permission denied (13)
rsync: mkstemp "/storage/backup/selinux/class/x_property/perms/.destroy.IiUP3L" failed: Permission denied (13)


# Error concern 2:

rsync: rsync_xal_clear: lremovexattr("storage","security.selinux") failed: Permission denied (13)


# Error concern 3:

rsync: set_acl: sys_acl_set_file(var/run/cups/certs/0, ACL_TYPE_ACCESS): Operation not supported (95)


# Finishing output:

sent 4288406721 bytes  received 52199 bytes  86635533.74 bytes/sec
total size is 22337384552  speedup is 5.21
rsync error: some files/attrs were not transferred (see previous errors) (code 23) at main.c(1039) [sender=3.0.6]


The rsync seems to run normally until it hits a particular part of /selinux directory with hidden files. When SELinux is set to permissive, setenforce 0, these errors do not occur. Although # Error concern 2 and # Error concern 3 still occur.

The SELinux context of the /selinux directory and /storage directories is as follows:

drwxr-xr-x. root root system_u:object_r:security_t:s0  selinux
drwxr-xr-x. root root system_u:object_r:file_t:s0      storage
# /storage/backup directory
drwxr-xr-x. root root unconfined_u:object_r:public_content_t:s0 backup

So far for # Error concern 2 and # Error concern 3 I have no leads.

Please let me know if I'm missing anything. I am not as well acquainted with CentOS 6.5 as I am with 7 as I'm not aware why there is a /selinux directory off of /. I have a CentOS 7.2 server which is doing the same rsync to an attached storage drive without issues. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Update 1

I changed the SELinux context on /storage/backup to public_content_rw_t via:

semanage fcontext -a -t public_content_rw_t "/storage/backup(/.*)?"
restorecon -Rv /storage/backup

I'll run the rsync again soon and report if this has changed anything.

Update 2

I've ran the rsync again after with the new security context and I'm getting the same error results. I'm wondering if rsyncing the /selinux directory is really worth it since the system should have /etc/selinux backed up anyway which would have all of the contexts if the system needed to relabel itself. Can anyone chime in on this?

Update 3

I'm leaning on not backing up the /selinux directory. The sestatus shows these differences between CentOS 6.5 and CentOS 7.2:

CentOS 6.5
SELinux status:                    enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                   /selinux
Current mode:                      enforcing

CentOS 7.2
SELinux status:                    enabled
SELinuxfs mount:                   /sys/fs/selinux
SELinux root directory:            /etc/selinux
Loaded policy name:                targeted
Current mode:                      enforcing

From what I gather from this the /selinux directory is being used as a mounting point for the SElinux filesystem? I wonder if this is the cause of the errors.

  • Also, to add another note to this. Does anyone know why Centos 6.5 would have a /selinux directory on the root file system as well as /etc/selinux? – hashwagon Dec 19 '16 at 18:29
  • I'd forget about that /selinux folder. This is a comment for a reason – sysfiend Dec 19 '16 at 18:32
  • That's what I'm leaning on so far. The man page for SELinux does not mention anything about the /selinux directory. If anyone could explain the difference between the two I would appreciate it. The sestatus command shows a difference on CentOS 6.5 and 7.2 which I've added to the post. – hashwagon Dec 19 '16 at 19:27

The difference between /selinux and /etc/selinux (in RHEL/CentOS 6) is that the former is a "pseudo flesystem for exporting the security policy API" (remember that Mandatory Access Control is kernel-enforced); whereas the latter "contains configuration files which are local to the machine".

You should not include the /selinux (or any other) pseudo filesystem when syncing.

There's a good Q/A on Unix & Linux about this subject, with very useful linked documentation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.