This is an attempt at creating an indelible dropbox for data over rsync. One might, for example, want to push data to a server and have reasonably high confidence that the client is powerless to delete it. I suggest running this atop a file system which does data unification, such as HAMMER or ZFS, but this is not critical by any means. This is probably not the right thing to be using if your dropbox grows to be dozens of gigabytes big, but for smaller things, it should work fine.


We create three sets of files: staging, staged, and backup. Clients write into the staging area and a post-xfer hook copies (with rsync, of course!) data into the staged area, being sure to make a time-stamped backup in the backup area. Since the client does not have (write) access to the staged or backup areas, we can be reasonably sure that the client cannot actually delete it.


At some path of your choosing, PATH, make a directory tree like this:

drwxr-xr-x  2 root     wheel    2 Sep 22 07:24 backups
drwxr-xr-x  2 root     wheel    2 Sep 22 07:24 staged
drwxr-xr-x  2 dropbox  dropbox  2 Sep 22 07:24 staging


First, tell rsyncd about the staging area. Since we’re being a little paranoid, we’ll have it chroot into the staging area, as well as adopt the user and group IDs of some under-privileged user. For some applications, we might leave out the delete part of the refuse options directive, allowing the client to appear to have deleted files.

        path = /PATH/staging
        read only = false
        timeout = 30
      max connections = 1
        post-xfer exec = /root/post-staging
        use chroot = true
        uid = dropbox
        gid = dropbox
        refuse options = delete times


And here’s the magic sauce which runs (as root, not as dropbox) after each client connection:


UNIQNAME=`date +%s`:`ls ${LOGS} | wc -l | sed -e "s/ //g"`

# Stage the files, being sure to make backups
/usr/local/bin/rsync -avc --inplace \
   --backup --backup-dir ${BACKUPS}/${UNIQNAME} \
   --log-file ${LOGS}/${UNIQNAME}.rsy \
   --out-format "XFER %n" \
   > ${LOGS}/${UNIQNAME}.fns

# Build a manifest of hashes of staged contents
cat ${LOGS}/${UNIQNAME}.fns | \
   sed -ne '/[^\/]$/ s/^.*XFER //p' | \
   perl -ne 'my $r; chomp; while (/(.*)\\#(\d\d\d)(.*)/) {
      $r .= $1 . chr (oct $2); $_ = $3 }; $r .= $_; print $r; print "\0"' | \
   (cd ${STAGED}; xargs -0 sha256 -r) > ${LOGS}/${UNIQNAME}.sha