This is equivalent to -rlptgoD. It is a quick way of saying you want recursion and want to
preserve almost everything (with -H being a notable omission). The only exception to the above
equivalence is when --files-from is specified, in which case -r is not implied.
Note that -a does not preserve hardlinks, because finding multiply-linked files is expensive. You
must separately specify -H.
This option increases the amount of information you are given during the transfer. By default,
rsync works silently. A single -v will give you information about what files are being transferred
and a brief summary at the end. Two -v options will give you information on what files are being
skipped and slightly more information at the end. More than two -v options should only be used if
you are debugging rsync.
Note that the names of the transferred files that are output are done using a default --out-format
of "%n%L", which tells you just the name of the file and, if the item is a link, where it points.
At the single -v level of verbosity, this does not mention when a file gets its attributes
changed. If you ask for an itemized list of changed attributes (either --itemize-changes or
adding "%i" to the --out-format setting), the output (on the client) increases to mention all
items that are changed in any way. See the --out-format option for more details.
With this option, rsync compresses the file data as it is sent to the destination machine, which
reduces the amount of data being transmitted -- something that is useful over a slow connection.
Note that this option typically achieves better compression ratios than can be achieved by using a
compressing remote shell or a compressing transport because it takes advantage of the implicit
information in the matching data blocks that are not explicitly sent over the connection.
See the --skip-compress option for the default list of file suffixes that will not be compressed.