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Linux in a Nutshell

This directory of Linux commands is from Linux in a Nutshell, 5th Edition.

Click on any of the 687 commands below to get a description and list of available options. All links in the command summaries point to the online version of the book on Safari Bookshelf.

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rdist [options] [names]

System administration command. Remote file distribution client program. rdist maintains identical copies of files over multiple hosts. It reads commands from a file named distfile to direct the updating of files and/or directories. An alternative distfile can be specified with the -f option or the -c option.


-a num

Do not update filesystems with fewer than num bytes free.

-A num

Specify the minimum number of inodes that rdist requires.

-c name [login@] host[:dest]

Interpret the arguments as a small distfile, where login is the user to log in as, host is the destination host, name is the local file to transfer, and dest is the remote name where the file should be installed.

-d var=value

Define var to have value. This option defines or overrides variable definitions in the distfile. Set the variable var to value.


Debugging mode.

-f file

Read input from file (by default, distfile). If file is -, read from standard input.


Execute all commands sequentially, without forking.

-l options

Specify logging options on the local machine.

-L options

Specify logging options on the remote machine.

-m machine

Update only machine. May be specified multiple times for multiple machines.

-M num

Do not allow more than num child rdist processes to run simultaneously. Default is 4.


Suppress normal execution. Instead, print the commands that would have been executed.


Specify one or more options, which must be comma-separated.


Suppress operations on files that reside on NFS filesystems.


Check filesystem to be sure it is not read-only before attempting to perform updates.


Do not update files that exist on the local host but are symbolic links on the remote host.


Compare files; use this comparison rather than age as the criteria for determining which files should be updated.


Interpret symbolic links, copying the file to which the link points instead of creating a link on the remote machine.


Ignore links that appear to be unresolvable.


Do not update a file's group ownership unless the entire file needs updating.


Do not update file mode unless the entire file needs updating.


Do not update file ownership unless the entire file needs updating.


Suppress recursive descent into directories.


Suppress rdist of executables that are in a.out format.


Check group ownership by group ID instead of by name.


Check file ownership by user ID instead of by name.


Quiet mode; do not print commands as they execute.


Remove files that exist on the remote host but not the local host.


Save updated files in name.old.


Check for sparse files—for example, ndbm files.


Print a list of all files on the remote machine that are out of date, but do not update them.


Preserve directory structure by creating subdirectories on the remote machine. For example, if you rdist the file /foo/bar into the directory /baz, it would produce the file /baz/foo/bar instead of the default /baz/bar.


Do not update files that are younger than the master files.

-p path

Specify the path to search for rdistd on the remote machine.

-P path

Specify path to the transport command to use on the local machine. This is normally rsh, but may also be ssh. The path argument may also be specified as a colon-separated list of acceptable transports to use in order of preference.

-t seconds

Specify the timeout period (default 900 seconds) after which rdist will sever the connection if the remote server has not yet responded.


Display version, then exit.

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