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With the folder structure like so
/site_root /site_root/images /site_root/core /site_root/core/modules/images /site_root/libraries
etc

When doing a drush archive dump backup, from the inside site_root (usually it's public_html but in this case it's another folder), I use
$ drush ard tar-options="--exclude=images" --destination=~/.backups/[date].tar.gz

That way the archive dump skips the /site_root/images folder and the ard is much smaller. Unfortunately for me pattern matching then causes all images folders throughout to be excluded due to recursivity. So I would lose
/site_root/images
/site_root/core/modules/images
etc

I know in linux you can make tar-options look at the folder structure by making the pattern relative, like so
$ drush ard tar-options="--exclude=./images"
But that is not working for me via drush ard tar-options.

I also tried the home folder shortcut '~' (which works a treat on drush ard destination) like so
$ drush ard tar-options="--exclude=~/site_root/images" --destination=~/.backups/[date].tar.gz
But, for some reason, that does not work like it does on the –-destination switch.

What is the best way to limit the drush tar-options="exclude switch to either no-recursive or pattern match looking at relative path to working directory?

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I've found that you can use the current working directory, as the starting point, to force relative urls. It was a matter of getting the syntax correct.

For example if you have your site root in public_html, and you are in that location cd ~/public_html, you can use drush:

[user public_html]$ drush ard tar-options="--exclude=public_html/images" --destination=~/.backups/[date].tar.gz

The key is to navigate to that starting point root folder first.

For example, if your site root was in a subdirectory subdirectory/siteone,
go to that location first cd ~/subdirectory/siteone
and then use drush:

[user siteone]$ drush ard tar-options="--exclude= siteone/images" --destination=~/.backups/[date].tar.gz

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