I am trying to run a shell (sh) script for backups, using rdiff-backup. The lines of interest are:

cmd="${prog} -v5 --print-statistics --include-globbing-filelist ${inclist} \
--exclude ** ${src} ${dest}"
echo "${cmd}"

It echoes the correct command to me, but chokes on the command itself:

rdiff-backup -v5 --print-statistics --include-globbing-filelist /etc/backup/include-list --exclude ** / /backup/all
Using rdiff-backup version 1.2.8
Fatal Error: Switches missing or wrong number of arguments
See the rdiff-backup manual page for more information.

Running the command directly does work (using '**' instead of **). Note that I've tried using '**' in the command string, but it's expanded wrong and gives an error like

Fatal Error: Fatal Error: The file specification
cannot match any files in the base directory

But I assume this is still an expansion issue, so maybe that's wrong. I am very confused at the moment, and would appreciate some help.

  • 1
    Add set -xv to print out the command as debugging help. Maybe it will help.
    – bbaja42
    Oct 15, 2012 at 9:44
  • I tried that, actually. It gives me the same string echoed above.
    – scry
    Oct 15, 2012 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


I solved running bash -c "$cmd"

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