gcp(1) Advanced command-line file copier




This manual page documents briefly the gcp command.

gcp is a file copier, loosely inspired by cp, but with high level functionalities like:
 - transfer progression indication
 - continuous copying when there is an issue: it skips the problematic file and goes on
 - copy status logging: which files were effectively copied
 - name mangling to handle target filesystem limitations (e.g. removing incompatible chars like "?" or "*" on VFAT)
 - forced copy serialization: new files to copy are added to a global queue to avoid hard drive head seeks
 - transfer list management: gcp can save a list of files to copy and reuse it later
 - approximate option compatibility with cp (approximate because the behaviour is not exactly the same, see below)


These programs follow the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes (`-'). By default, calling gcp is equivalent to calling gcp --preserve=mode,ownership,timestamps.

A summary of options is included below.

General options

Show version of program and exit.
-h, --help
Show summary of options.
-r, --recursive
Copy directories recursively.
-L, --dereference
always follow symbolic links in sources
-P, --no-dereference
never follow symbolic links in sources
-f, --force
Overwrite existing files.
Keep specified attributes. Attributes can be mode, ownership and timestamps. When several attributes are passed, they need to be separated by commas. Note that timestamps preservation has some limits, see section LIMITS.
Don't fix file system naming incompatibilities.
Disable progress bar.
-v, --verbose
Display what is being done.

Sources saving

Save the list of source files in a list named SOURCES_SAVE.
Save the list of source files in a list named SOURCES_REPLACE and replace it if it already exists.
Reuse the list of source file named SOURCES_LOAD.
Delete the list of source files named SOURCES_DEL.
List the names of source file lists.
List the names of source file lists, including their content.


The exit status can be:
  • 0 if files have been copied correctly or if another instance of gcp is already running and will do the copy.
  • 1 if at least one file has not been copied, or if something went wrong.
  • 2 if all files have been copied but with some issues


Timestamps preservation with --preserve option is limited by the os python module on POSIX systems. Currently, python only returns timestamps in float format, which is a smaller precision than what POSIX provides. Progress on this issue can be seen at http://bugs.python.org/issue11457.


gcp was written by Jérôme Poisson <[email protected]>.

This manual page was written by Thomas Preud'homme <[email protected]>, for the Debian project (and may be used by others).