Switch to SpeakEasy.net DSL

The Modular Manual Browser

Home Page
Manual: (4.4BSD-Lite2)
Apropos / Subsearch:
optional field

RDIST(1)                     BSD Reference Manual                     RDIST(1)

     rdist - remote file distribution program

     rdist [-nqbRhivwy] [-f distfile] [-d var=value] [-m host] [name ...]
     rdist [-nqbRhivwy] -c name ... [login@]host[:dest]

     Rdist is a program to maintain identical copies of files over multiple
     hosts.  It preserves the owner, group, mode, and mtime of files if possi-
     ble and can update programs that are executing.  Rdist reads commands
     from distfile to direct the updating of files and/or directories.

     Options specific to the first SYNOPSIS form:

     -       If distfile is `-', the standard input is used.

     -f distfile
             Use the specified distfile.

     If either the -f or `-' option is not specified, the program looks first
     for ``distfile'', then ``Distfile'' to use as the input.  If no names are
     specified on the command line, rdist will update all of the files and di-
     rectories listed in distfile. Otherwise, the argument is taken to be the
     name of a file to be updated or the label of a command to execute. If la-
     bel and file names conflict, it is assumed to be a label.  These may be
     used together to update specific files using specific commands.

     Options specific to the second SYNOPSIS form:

     -c          Forces rdist to interpret the remaining arguments as a small

                 The equivalent distfile is as follows.

                       (name ...) -> [login@] host
                             install [dest];

     Options common to both forms:

     -b          Binary comparison. Perform a binary comparison and update
                 files if they differ rather than comparing dates and sizes.

     -d var=value
                 Define var to have value. The -d option is used to define or
                 override variable definitions in the distfile. Value can be
                 the empty string, one name, or a list of names surrounded by
                 parentheses and separated by tabs and/or spaces.

     -h          Follow symbolic links. Copy the file that the link points to
                 rather than the link itself.

     -i          Ignore unresolved links.  Rdist will normally try to maintain
                 the link structure of files being transferred and warn the
                 user if all the links cannot be found.

     -m host     Limit which machines are to be updated. Multiple -m arguments
                 can be given to limit updates to a subset of the hosts listed
                 in the distfile.

     -n          Print the commands without executing them. This option is

                 useful for debugging distfile.

     -q          Quiet mode. Files that are being modified are normally print-
                 ed on standard output. The -q option suppresses this.

     -R          Remove extraneous files. If a directory is being updated, any
                 files that exist on the remote host that do not exist in the
                 master directory are removed.  This is useful for maintaining
                 truly identical copies of directories.

     -v          Verify that the files are up to date on all the hosts. Any
                 files that are out of date will be displayed but no files
                 will be changed nor any mail sent.

     -w          Whole mode. The whole file name is appended to the destina-
                 tion directory name. Normally, only the last component of a
                 name is used when renaming files.  This will preserve the di-
                 rectory structure of the files being copied instead of flat-
                 tening the directory structure. For example, renaming a list
                 of files such as ( dir1/f1 dir2/f2 ) to dir3 would create
                 files dir3/dir1/f1 and dir3/dir2/f2 instead of dir3/f1 and

     -y          Younger mode. Files are normally updated if their mtime and
                 size (see stat(2))  disagree. The -y option causes rdist not
                 to update files that are younger than the master copy.  This
                 can be used to prevent newer copies on other hosts from being
                 replaced.  A warning message is printed for files which are
                 newer than the master copy.

     Distfile contains a sequence of entries that specify the files to be
     copied, the destination hosts, and what operations to perform to do the
     updating. Each entry has one of the following formats.

           <variable name> `=' <name list>
           [label:]<source list> `->' <destination list> <command list>
           [label:]<source list> `::' <time_stamp file> <command list>

     The first format is used for defining variables.  The second format is
     used for distributing files to other hosts.  The third format is used for
     making lists of files that have been changed since some given date.  The
     source list specifies a list of files and/or directories on the local
     host which are to be used as the master copy for distribution.  The
     destination list is the list of hosts to which these files are to be
     copied.  Each file in the source list is added to a list of changes if
     the file is out of date on the host which is being updated (second for-
     mat) or the file is newer than the time stamp file (third format).

     Labels are optional. They are used to identify a command for partial up-

     Newlines, tabs, and blanks are only used as separators and are otherwise
     ignored. Comments begin with `#' and end with a newline.

     Variables to be expanded begin with `$' followed by one character or a
     name enclosed in curly braces (see the examples at the end).

     The source and destination lists have the following format:

           `(' <zero or more names separated by white-space> `)'

     The shell meta-characters `[', `]', `{', `}', `*', and `?'  are recog-
     nized and expanded (on the local host only) in the same way as csh(1).
     They can be escaped with a backslash.  The `~' character is also expanded
     in the same way as csh(1) but is expanded separately on the local and
     destination hosts.  When the -w option is used with a file name that be-
     gins with `~', everything except the home directory is appended to the
     destination name.  File names which do not begin with `/' or `~' use the
     destination user's home directory as the root directory for the rest of
     the file name.

     The command list consists of zero or more commands of the following for-

           `install'      <options>        opt_dest_name `;'
           `notify'       <name list>      `;'
           `except'       <name list>      `;'
           `except_pat'   <pattern list>   `;'
           `special'      <name list>      string `;'

     The install command is used to copy out of date files and/or directories.
     Each source file is copied to each host in the destination list.  Direc-
     tories are recursively copied in the same way.  Opt_dest_name is an op-
     tional parameter to rename files.  If no install command appears in the
     command list or the destination name is not specified, the source file
     name is used.  Directories in the path name will be created if they do
     not exist on the remote host.  To help prevent disasters, a non-empty di-
     rectory on a target host will never be replaced with a regular file or a
     symbolic link.  However, under the `-R' option a non-empty directory will
     be removed if the corresponding filename is completely absent on the mas-
     ter host.  The options are `-R', `-h', `-i', `-v', `-w', `-y', and `-b'
     and have the same semantics as options on the command line except they
     only apply to the files in the source list.  The login name used on the
     destination host is the same as the local host unless the destination
     name is of the format ``login@host".

     The notify command is used to mail the list of files updated (and any er-
     rors that may have occurred) to the listed names.  If no `@' appears in
     the name, the destination host is appended to the name (e.g., name1@host,
     name2@host, ...).

     The except command is used to update all of the files in the source list
     except for the files listed in name list. This is usually used to copy
     everything in a directory except certain files.

     The except_pat command is like the except command except that pattern
     list is a list of regular expressions (see ed(1) for details).  If one of
     the patterns matches some string within a file name, that file will be
     ignored.  Note that since `\' is a quote character, it must be doubled to
     become part of the regular expression.  Variables are expanded in pattern
     list but not shell file pattern matching characters.  To include a `$',
     it must be escaped with `\'.

     The special command is used to specify sh(1) commands that are to be exe-
     cuted on the remote host after the file in name list is updated or in-
     stalled.  If the name list is omitted then the shell commands will be ex-
     ecuted for every file updated or installed.  The shell variable `FILE' is
     set to the current filename before executing the commands in string.
     String starts and ends with `"' and can cross multiple lines in distfile.
     Multiple commands to the shell should be separated by `;'.  Commands are
     executed in the user's home directory on the host being updated.  The
     special command can be used to rebuild private databases, etc.  after a
     program has been updated.

     The following is a small example:

           HOSTS = ( matisse root@arpa )

           FILES = ( /bin /lib /usr/bin /usr/games
           /usr/lib /usr/man/man? /usr/ucb /usr/local/rdist )

           EXLIB = ( Mail.rc aliases aliases.dir aliases.pag crontab dshrc
           sendmail.cf sendmail.fc sendmail.hf sendmail.st uucp vfont )

           ${FILES} -> ${HOSTS}
           install -R ;
           except /usr/lib/${EXLIB} ;
           except /usr/games/lib ;
           special /usr/lib/sendmail "/usr/lib/sendmail -bz" ;

           /usr/src/bin -> arpa
           except_pat ( \\.o\$ /SCCS\$ ) ;

           IMAGEN = (ips dviimp catdvi)

           /usr/local/${IMAGEN} -> arpa
           install /usr/local/lib ;
           notify ralph ;

           ${FILES} :: stamp.cory
           notify root@cory ;

     distfile     input command file
     /tmp/rdist*  temporary file for update lists

     sh(1),  csh(1),  stat(2)

     The rdist command appeared in 4.3BSD.

     A complaint about mismatch of rdist version numbers may really stem from
     some problem with starting your shell, e.g., you are in too many groups.

     Source files must reside on the local host where rdist is executed.

     There is no easy way to have a special command executed after all files
     in a directory have been updated.

     Variable expansion only works for name lists; there should be a general
     macro facility.

     Rdist aborts on files which have a negative mtime (before Jan 1, 1970).

     There should be a `force' option to allow replacement of non-empty direc-
     tories by regular files or symlinks.  A means of updating file modes and
     owners of otherwise identical files is also needed.

4.3 Berkeley Distribution       March 17, 1994                               4