recursive scp and symlinks

To copy recursively with scp, you use scp -r.
The thing is that if you have symlinks in your directory the content of the directory being pointed to by the symlinks will be copied, this is not necessarily what you want (the symlink will be followed instead of being preserved).
Scp have no option to specify that you don’t want to follow symlinks.
If you want to preserver symlinks, you should use rsync:
rsync -avz -e ssh /src/dir

Be carefull, if you preserve symlinks, the newly created symlinks on the remote server can point to a non existant path.
It’s strange that scp seem to have no option to not follow symlinks. If you’re aware of one, please drop me a comment !



  1. dantreacy said

    Not going to happen apparently.

    See for some details.

  2. John Mitchell said

    I found the same annoying problem. Didn’t have rsync installed so I used tar over ssh:

    games: cd /source_dir
    games: # tar cf – * | ssh root@atom ‘(cd /destination_dir;tar xf – )’

    Works a treat

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