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--transfer with absolute path does not respect --workdir

From: Jay Hacker
Subject: --transfer with absolute path does not respect --workdir
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 08:29:55 -0400

[Moving this from bug tracker to mailing list at Ole's request]

Currently, if you use --sshlogin to run jobs on remote computers and
--transfer to send files, the files are placed in your home directory,
including any paths.  So, as the man page says:

    echo foo/bar.txt | parallel --sshlogin --transfer wc

    This will transfer the file foo/bar.txt to the computer to the file
    $HOME/foo/bar.txt before running wc foo/bar.txt on

However, as an (undocumented) special case, absolute paths (starting
with /) are not put in your home dir, but at the same absolute path.

This seems
a.) surprising, because --transfer foo/bar.txt and $PWD/foo/bar.txt do
very different things, and
b.) less than useful, because I cannot transfer absolute paths to
another location.  Anything in a read-only directory simply can't be

Aha! you say; use --workdir!  It lets you put transferred files
wherever you want!

But alas, --workdir has the (undocumented) special behavior of being
ignored for files with absolute paths.  So, it is simply impossible to
transfer a file specified with an absolute path to your home dir.

To adhere to the principle of least surprise, I suggest --transfer
*always* puts things in --workdir, including any paths.  If you want
to transfer things to an absolute path, just use --workdir=/ .

So for example:

$ parallel -S localhost --transfer ls ::: /etc/issue

Should give etc/issue in your $HOME, and

$ parallel -S localhost --workdir /tmp --transfer ls ::: /etc/issue

should give /tmp/etc/issue.


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