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Arch Users: Check your mirrors


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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:12 am   
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I just got back from a 2 week business trip and set about updating my boxes. On this one I have Arch64 and I thought it somewhat strange that after 2 weeks there were no updates.

I checked the arch forums and found this post:
Arch Forums wrote:
[url=http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=86572]My system is perhaps a bit lean, but I have not been offered any new upgrade packages since 18 November. I find this to be unusual - I am used to only 1-2 days between new upgrades. Pacman seems to be alright, and keeps quitting by saying my local database has been updated.

Am I paranoid? Has there really been so little new the last few weeks?[/url]

Doing as suggested by another user I checked out
https://users.archlinux.de/~gerbra/mirrorcheck.html

The mirrors I had been using were indeed out of date. Switching to a 'fresh' mirror I found I had 125 updates worth 330MB downlaod and 1.1G installed...

I'm not sure how they let so many mirrors get so out of date (one was listed as more than a year out of date) but it does strike me as a flaw in the package management of Arch or at the very least the governance model of the distribution.

If any Arch users know of a way (not requiring regular manual intervention) to get around this, I'm open to it.

For now I'm keeping tabs on this - after close to 3 years that's a first for me, hopefully it's not a sign of the distro going into decline.


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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:29 pm   
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you should choose better mirrors ;)

personally i choose mirrors that i fully trust, namely our campus mirror that I co-maintain, crouse's (should i really need an old package :P) and archlinux's official repo (but that's throttled).

I'm not sure how you can hold any distro accountable for keeping hundreds of mirrors all running perfectly for free. Now I do agree with you on the ~10 "official" mirrors being out of sync (you'd think the official ones would be watched better and a news feed would be available informing us if they are no longer going to provide the service), which will probably cause the official status to be revoked. I hardly doubt archlinux is dying ;) things change though, its just a mirror ;) takes all of a few sec to switch it out. if you're really that concerned after finals ill create a repo sync check tool that verifies last mirror sync to archlinux's repo (shouldnt take me more than about 30 min max tbh :P)

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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:42 pm   
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@platinummonkey: archlinux' official repo from japan is painfully slow... the ones I had I didn't think were particularly esoteric

The comments you make about official mirros, newsfeeds, and revocation of status are exactly what I'm talking about when I mention governance - I do know how to read the fine manual and track down my own issues, but for someone less experienced, it could be a turn-off

The other point here is that I've not had this problem in 3 years and now I'm seeing multiple threads on the arch forums:
http://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=86478

I doubt Arch is dying, but they are letting some corners of the 'garden go to seed' IMO

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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:27 pm   
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jester wrote:
...
but for someone less experienced, it could be a turn-off
...
I doubt Arch is dying, but they are letting some corners of the 'garden go to seed' IMO


fair opinion :P
hopefully those with less experience would see this as a learning opportunity and not as a turn-off, if the latter is the case, then arch was never meant for them imho :P

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 PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:26 pm   
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lol!

When you posted 'check your mirrors', I though you meant rear view mirrors, as if something was gaining on Arch... I was thinking: "I've just hear that Gentoo was getting some of its act together.... is that what this post is about?".

PCLinuxOS has this one mirror (of the 2 I've used but there is over a dozen more than these 2) that seems to lag behind quite a bit (weeks, at times), but a year out is just shameful. I'd wonder if possibly Arch has reached its zenith.... can't get mirrors updated might mean that mirror is not getting much traffic for one reason or another. Hmmm. I'll have to wait and see how the next year plays out.


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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 3:53 am   
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Sounds mostly like the rsyc/cron jobs to keep mirrors updated borked on one or more mirrors.... the fault of a mirror maintainer, not of the distribution. Mirrors are all volunteer efforts .... so stuff like this can happen.

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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 7:48 am   
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I did so cleverly misread, and just downgraded the kernel, so I suspect there also some not necessarily outdated, but older packages in some also. Still in the 2.6.31 series and still works fine....so

Have to read more carefully <G><

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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 1:25 pm   
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crouse wrote:
Sounds mostly like the rsyc/cron jobs to keep mirrors updated borked on one or more mirrors.... the fault of a mirror maintainer, not of the distribution. Mirrors are all volunteer efforts .... so stuff like this can happen.


Agree and disagree: yes, most distros (aside from the Suses, Ubuntus, and Fedoras) are voluntary efforts from conception through to delivery, so agreed, the mirror maintainer is responsible for his/her mirror.

No, because package management is a key differentiator for distros; the ease with which a system can be maintained is critical to the user experience and for a newcomer to the linux arena may ultimately be a deciding factor as to whether they stay or go. For that reason I think for a distro to be successful, they need a governance model that includes minimum standards for devs, package maintainers as well as mirror 'managers'.

I don't want to blow this out of proportion - I love Arch and pacman is a key part of the attraction - for me the DIY aspect of linux is a plus, not a minus, but for many I know that the view is the less DIY the better. What triggered my initial post was that this was the first time I had encountered this issue in Arch and that recently several others had had the same experience - the question really is, why now?


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 PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2009 9:31 pm   
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I still think it may just be a coincidence, but I could be wrong.

My private mirror seems to be up to date. ;)

I think myself, jbsnake, and platinummonkey get DAILY/hourly emails about it... information overload almost, but i can always check my mail logs and see what is happening with rsync and the packages. (I have a 25 gig gmail account that I just keep storing emails/info on)

I can add you to the mailing list if you would like jester ... you should be able to figure out the url after your on the list if you want to use it :)

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 PostPosted: Thu Dec 17, 2009 11:08 pm   
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crouse wrote:
I think myself, jbsnake, and platinummonkey get DAILY/hourly emails about it...


heh, prob more often than that ;) lol i have so many :P

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 PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2009 11:54 pm   
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crouse wrote:
I can add you to the mailing list if you would like jester ... you should be able to figure out the url after your on the list if you want to use it :)


I may just take you up on that - won't be able to do anything until Sunday afternoon my time as we're heading out the door for a weekend break ;)


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