In order to preserve the timestamp of the HTML (Static Site Generator) SSG files from Octopress/Jekyll I have switched from the use of a direct link for the “public” folder to the live directory on the web site, to the use of a git push. This means if the files are the same, they will not be uploaded, and the original timestamp will be preserved (even though Octopress has in fact regenerated them, as it does by default). I have seen some better ways to fix this, but this keeps me with vanilla Octopress, and so will be easier for me to maintain.
The main problem is setting up the git repo to be independent of “public” which is regenerated afresh each time “rake generate” is run. I think I have solved this okay with a separate staging area with a system bind link (c.f. mount bind trick).
I used this advice on how to use a bare repo master with a post-commit hook to update the main website git website howto.
The official supported mechanism is to use a git push of a branch called “source” to github public pages, but I haven’t done this.