Yes, directory exclusion are recursive. This means that if you exclude for example
~/MyDocuments/ then everything in that folder and beneath is excluded. That includes for example
However, there are some special cases. When you have a non hard-link, the link itself is excluded, but the link is not followed to exclude the objects linked to. This means that a symbolic link or firm link, like you have in your case, is excluded from the backup - but not what it links to.
In your case
/usr/local is not really a subfolder of
/usr, but rather a link. This is the reason you see that
/usr/local, which is really
/System/Volumes/Data/usr/local, is not excluded when you exclude
Note that excluding a directory does not exclude the volumes mounted under that directory. For example
sudo tmutil exclude -p /System will only exclude directories in the volume
/ (but not other volumes mounted to
According to the man page:
The third kind of exclusion is a volume exclusion. These track volumes
based on file system UUID, which is persistent across volume name and
mount path changes.
sudo tmutil exclude -v / will exclude folders and volumes (including