recursive copy with spaces in descendants

Michael Sierchio kudzu at
Sat Nov 5 20:23:04 UTC 2011

I just use tar for this.

( cd /path/to/src ; tar cf - . ) | ( cd /path/to/obj ; tar xf - )

- M

On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 12:47 PM, Chris <cpuburner at> wrote:
> I'm having difficulty copying a directory tree from my FreeBSD server to
> USB storage. The problem is that the tree contains file and folder names
> which have spaces, similar to the following:
> ./foo bar/some name.tar.gz
> ./foo bar/child dir/some other name.tar.gz
> I've tried various combinations of cp with enclosing the top level
> directory in quotations, along with other commands like tar or xargs  to no
> avail. The problem seems to be with creating the destination directories
> and folders, where mkdir/cp terminates with an invalid argument response.
> Cleaning up the source filenames using something like detox isn't viable,
> as the files are being served by transmission-daemon, and as such the names
> must be preserved. Permissions are not an issue either, as the same
> responses occur whether I use a standard or root account.
> Any ideas would be greatly appreciated, since I'm pretty much out of them
> at this point.
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