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If I give out a "zypper up" or "apt-get update", the repository datas are fetched in linear order.

The big Question: Why? Why cannot we speed up the update process by starting all the repository data download parallel?

I am not talking about package updates, just repo infos.

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  • where should I ask this? strange that it is not implemented yet
    – Hessnov
    Dec 5, 2017 at 20:58
  • Which distribution are you using? Feb 19, 2018 at 20:09
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    sles 11.4 but the question is in ~general, why isn't this idea implemented yet?
    – Hessnov
    Feb 19, 2018 at 20:11
  • Please clarify which of these should run in parallel: apt update or apt upgrade?
    – agc
    Feb 26, 2018 at 4:45

3 Answers 3

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In my view it is because it is not necessary.

Currently the typical update processes (apt, yum, etc) are not bandwidth limited in general. The fraction of time of the update process that is spent downloading repository files or packages is either not significant (seconds) or may not be significantly improved by adding parallelisation [since if bandwidth is a problem, parallelisation may make it worse].

There's other limitations. Apt for example does not even support 2 simultaneous operations whereas yum or emerge, for example, does. These limitations that may exist to limit complexity or simply because they're not really an issue to every day users and sysadmins.

Complexity and performance requires effort, which means it needs to be justified to an extent before the effort is spent.

However, if you really want to pursue this, it is generally possible:

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It is possible. So for example in Fedora's dnf- dnf allows more than one packages to be downloaded at a time, while yum does not. Even though apt, on its own may not be able to achieve this, and there is no official apt extension to provide parallel downloading. But apt-fast might be what you are looking for.You will have to do some configurations though. This might be helpful.
https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/how-to-speed-up-apt-get-apt-command-ubuntu-linux/

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It's possible, and many useful improvements have been proposed and even coded, but obstacles exist:

  1. The various proposals are often mutually exclusive.

    Most popular packaging systems are insufficiently modular and extensible, so that the various innovative distro-centric protocols and methods can't play well together, which stunts the growth of their respective userbases and mindshares. For example, there's presently no easy way to combine the benefits of separately useful apt-transport methods and similar things; that is, separately one can have selectively local apt cache servers, apt over tor, onion repositories, aria downloads, deb-deltas, jigdo, torrents, etc. but these can't easily be stacked or piped together.

    The most technically promising of those methods are those that propose torrents or some torrent-like protocol, when such protocols are well made, availability increases with demand.

  2. Packaging system and server maintainers tend to be conservative and wary, and have access to faster hardware and networking than most users -- which makes speed complaints seem like slow user hardware issues. Possibly their conservatism is a prerequisite of the corporate/academic culture that rules in those buildings and campuses where the big servers are -- grades, titles, salaries, tenures, petty infighting, credit grabbing, shunning, etc. Given such defensive careerism, it's no small wonder there's not less innovation.

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