How to build and install rsync

When building rsync, you'll want to install various libraries in order to get all the features enabled. The configure script will alert you when the newest libraries are missing and tell you the appropriate ‑‑disable-LIB option to use if you want to just skip that feature. What follows are various support libraries that you may want to install to build rsync with the maximum features (the impatient can skip down to the package summary):

The basic setup

You need to have a C compiler installed and optionally a C++ compiler in order to try to build some hardware-accelerated checksum routines. Rsync also needs a modern awk, which might be provided via gawk or nawk on some OSes.

Autoconf & man pages

If you're installing from the git repo (instead of a release tar file) you'll also need the GNU autotools (autoconf & automake) and your choice of 2 python3 markdown libraries: cmarkgfm or commonmark (needed to generate the man pages). If your OS doesn't provide a python3-cmarkgfm or python3-commonmark package, you can run the following to install the commonmark python library for your build user (after installing python3's pip package):

pip3 install ‑‑user commonmark

You can test if you've got it fixed by running (from the src dir):

./md2man ‑‑test

Alternately, you can avoid generating the man pages by fetching the very latest versions (that match the latest git source) from the generated-files dir. One way to do that is to run:

./prepare-source fetchgen

ACL support

To support copying ACL file information, make sure you have an acl development library installed. It also helps to have the helper programs installed to manipulate ACLs and to run the rsync testsuite.

Xattr support

To support copying xattr file information, make sure you have an attr development library installed. It also helps to have the helper programs installed to manipulate xattrs and to run the rsync testsuite.


The xxHash library provides extremely fast checksum functions that can make the "rsync algorithm" run much more quickly, especially when matching blocks in large files. Installing this development library adds xxhash checksums as the default checksum algorithm.


The zstd library compression algorithm that uses less CPU than the default zlib algorithm at the same compression level. Note that you need at least version 1.4, so you might need to skip the zstd compression if you can only install a 1.3 release. Installing this development library adds zstd compression as the default compression algorithm.


The lz4 library compression algorithm that uses very little CPU, though it also has the smallest compression ratio of other algorithms. Installing this development library adds lz4 compression as an available compression algorithm.

openssl crypto

The openssl crypto library provides some hardware accelerated checksum algorithms for MD4 and MD5. Installing this development library makes rsync use the (potentially) faster checksum routines when computing MD4 & MD5 checksums.

Package summary

To help you get the libraries installed, here are some package install commands for various OSes. The commands are split up to correspond with the above items, but feel free to combine the package names into a single install, if you like.

Build and install

After installing the various libraries, you need to configure, build, and install the source:

 sudo make install

The default install path is /usr/local/bin, but you can set the installation directory and other parameters using options to ./configure. To see them, use:

./configure ‑‑help

Configure tries to figure out if the local system uses group "nobody" or "nogroup" by looking in the /etc/group file. (This is only used for the default group of an rsync daemon, which attempts to run with "nobody" user and group permissions.) You can change the default user and group for the daemon by editing the NOBODY_USER and NOBODY_GROUP defines in config.h, or just override them in your /etc/rsyncd.conf file.

As of 2.4.7, rsync uses Eric Troan's popt option-parsing library. A cut-down copy of a recent release is included in the rsync distribution, and will be used if there is no popt library on your build host, or if the ‑‑with-included-popt option is passed to ./configure.

If you configure using ‑‑enable-maintainer-mode, then rsync will try to pop up an xterm on DISPLAY=:0 if it crashes. You might find this useful, but it should be turned off for production builds.

If you want to automatically use a separate "build" directory based on the current git branch name, start with a pristine git checkout and run "mkdir auto-build-save" before you run the first ./configure command. That will cause a fresh build dir to spring into existence along with a special Makefile symlink that allows you to run "make" and "./configure" from the source dir (the "build" dir gets auto switched based on branch). This is helpful when using the branch-from-patch and patch-update scripts to maintain the official rsync patches. If you ever need to build from a "detached head" git position then you'll need to manually chdir into the build dir to run make. I also like to create 2 more symlinks in the source dir: ln ‑s build/rsync . ; ln ‑s build/testtmp .

Make compatibility

Note that has a rule that uses a wildcard in a prerequisite. If your make has a problem with this rule, you will see an error like this:

Don't know how to make ./*.c

You can change the "proto.h-tstamp" target in to list all the *.c filenames explicitly in order to avoid this issue.

RPM notes

Under packaging you will find .spec files for several distributions. The .spec file in packaging/lsb can be used for Linux systems that adhere to the Linux Standards Base (e.g., RedHat and others).

HP-UX notes

The HP-UX 10.10 "bundled" C compiler seems not to be able to cope with ANSI C. You may see this error message in config.log if ./configure fails:

(Bundled) cc: "configure", line 2162: error 1705: Function prototypes are an ANSI feature.

Install gcc or HP's "ANSI/C Compiler".

Mac OS X notes

Some versions of Mac OS X (Darwin) seem to have an IPv6 stack, but do not completely implement the "New Sockets" API.

This site says that Apple started to support IPv6 in 10.2 (Jaguar). If your build fails, try again after running configure with ‑‑disable-ipv6.

IBM AIX notes

IBM AIX has a largefile problem with mkstemp. See IBM PR-51921. The workaround is to append the following to config.h: