`multipass transfer` command

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The multipass transfer command copies files between host and instance, without the need of mounting a folder on the instance.

For example, to copy a local file local_file.txt to the default home folder of the instance good-prawn, we should issue:

$ multipass transfer local_file.txt good-prawn:.

Conversely, to copy a file instance_file.txt from the default home folder of the ample-pigeon instance to the current working folder, we should run:

$ multipass transfer ample-pigeon:remote_file.txt .

The source file can be the host standard input, on which case the stream will be written on the destination file on the instance. In the same way, the destination can be the standard output of the host and the source a file on the instance. In these two cases, standard input and output are specified with -.

In case the target path does not exist, you can use the --parents option, which will create any missing parent directories:

$ multipass transfer local_file.txt ample-pigeon:non/existent/path/remote_file.txt
[2022-10-11T13:07:25.789] [error] [sftp] remote target does not exist
$ multipass transfer --parents local_file.txt ample-pigeon:non/existent/path/remote_file.txt
$ multipass exec ample-pigeon -- ls non/existent/path

You can also copy an entire directory tree, using the --recursive option:

$ multipass exec ample-pigeon -- ls -R dir           
file1  subdir

$ multipass transfer --recursive ample-pigeon:dir .
$ ls -R dir
file1  subdir


Symbolic links are not followed during recursive transfer

The full multipass help transfer output explains the available options:

$ multipass help transfer
Usage: multipass transfer [options] <source> [<source> ...] <destination>
Copy files and directories between the host and instances.

  -h, --help       Displays help on commandline options
  -v, --verbose    Increase logging verbosity. Repeat the 'v' in the short
                   option for more detail. Maximum verbosity is obtained with 4
                   (or more) v's, i.e. -vvvv.
  -r, --recursive  Recursively copy entire directories
  -p, --parents    Make parent directories as needed

  source           One or more paths to transfer, prefixed with <name:> for
                   paths inside the instance, or '-' for stdin
  destination      The destination path, prefixed with <name:> for a path
                   inside the instance, or '-' for stdout

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