scp, sftp, and special characters in filenames

Nico Kadel-Garcia nkadel at
Tue Nov 5 12:51:32 AEDT 2019

On Mon, Nov 4, 2019 at 7:34 AM Stuart Henderson <stu at> wrote:
> On 2019/11/04 14:28, Darren Tucker wrote:
> > On Mon, 4 Nov 2019 at 14:07, David Newall <openssh at> wrote:
> >
> > > [about scp] That's just awful, and I should have
> > > thought it was not at all necessary.  Am I missing something?
> > >
> >
> > If you're saying that the scp protocol is an unfixable mess then the
> > openssh team has been agreeing[0] with you for at least a decade and a
> > half.  We fix what we can, but some parts can't be fixed.
> >
> > [0] eg
> At various times I've tried to use sftp instead of scp but it never lasted
> long. Remembering to type sftp instead of scp isn't so bad, but file
> uploads are really hard to work with, I don't think it's possible to get
> good finger memory for "echo 'put somefile' | sftp hostname:/tmp/" (and
> it's even worse when copying out multiple files).
> I'm sure it's already been considered, but from a user perspective it
> would be very convenient if we could have essentially the command-line
> interface of scp(1) (with divergence for filename escaping) but using
> the SFTP protocol.

Filesystem limitations for files with ':' in them are a real problem.
The much simpler solution is that 'if it hurts when you put a pointy
thing in your eyeball, stop putting a pointy thin in your eyeball",
not to try to armor the eyeball. In this case, stop creating files
with ':' in the filename.

That said, David, you *might* have some success with using rsync over
SSH to transmit such files. But I make no promises.

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