feature request: add -a to scp for archive-style copy

Joe Harrington jh at oobleck.astro.cornell.edu
Thu Feb 21 05:37:06 EST 2002

This is a feature request for scp.  scp has no easy option to copy
symlinks, etc. to reproduce a directory tree.  The -r option follows
symlinks and reads the data out of device files when copying.  A few
years ago, the -a option was added to normal cp, replacing the
cumbersome and arcane

(cd wherever1 ; tar cf - whatever) | (cd wherever2 ; tar xpf - )


cp -a wherever1/whatever wherever2

Adding a -a option to scp would likewise eliminate the need for the
even more obscure but frequently-typed

ssh wherever1 -l whoever "(cd wherever2 ; tar cf - whatever)" | (cd
wherever3 ; tar xpf - )

Instead, it would be

scp -a whoever at wherever1:wherever2/whatever wherever3

(cpio fans can make the appropriate replacements).

The -a feature doesn't exist under Red Hat's openssh-2.9p2-12, and I
can't find release notes for any more recent version on openssh.org.
If it has been discussed or (!) implemented in 3.0.X, thanks!


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