April 23rd, 2006
In my article The State of Backup and Cloning Tools under Mac OS X, I investigated the metadata preservation capabilities of several command-line utilities, among them Apple’s
asr (Apple Software Restore) command-line tool. The same tool is used by the Apple Disk Utility GUI. It seems that its behavior in file-by-file copying mode has changed drastically between OS X 10.4.5 and OS X 10.4.6—see the following table that corresponds to the table in my earlier post. Refer to my earlier post for an explanation of the metadata classes.
|ASR (file mode)||Apple (10.4.5)||x||-||x||?||x||x||x||-||x||x||x||x||-|
|ASR (file mode)||Apple (10.4.6)||x||-||x||-||x||-||x||-||x||x||-||-||-|
Basically, the BSD flags (not sure if they were preserved in 10.4.5), the locked flag, HFS+ extended attributes, and ACLs are not preserved.
The conclusion would be that the
asr tool, upon which many people rely for backup and machine setup purposes, is badly broken in OS X 10.4.6. This would also invalidate my earlier recommendations made here and here. Can readers confirm this behavior? I’ve filed the bug as Radar #4523878.
Update 2006-04-26: Apple has marked the bug as duplicate, effectively acknowledging it is indeed a bug in
Update 2006-07-11: Apple has not indicated any pertinent fixes in the release notes of OS X 10.4.7, and, indeed, I can attest that the situation is unchanged with respect to 10.4.6.