The Samba-Bugzilla – Bug 4745
Use lchmod and lutimes whenever possible
Last modified: 2009-12-31 16:12:02 UTC
Currently, on systems that support lchmod and lutimes, rsync uses them only when it needs to manipulate a symlink. I think it should use them everywhere in place of chmod and utimes to avoid surprises or vulnerabilities should a destination file of another type be suddenly replaced by a symlink.
3.1.0 will always use lchmod() and lutimes() (when available), as you suggest.