Don’t suggest to switch to a local mirror

By default, in its latest release, Linux Mint 17.3 (Rosa) offers to switch the software repositories to a local mirror because “Local mirrors are usually faster than packages.linuxmint.com”. Unfortunately, for me, this is not the case.

The local mirror is at a university, and this institution obviously has more need for its bandwidth than supporting Linux updates. Consequently, the local mirror is actually considerably slower than the regular repositories.

But, Mint blithely continues to ask me “Do you want to switch to a local mirror?” The answer is clearly no, but this option isn’t evident in the Update Manager window.

The trick is to navigate to Edit – Preferences – Options and check the box labelled “Don’t suggest to switch to a local mirror”.

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9 Responses to Don’t suggest to switch to a local mirror

  1. JohnM says:

    Thanks for the post. It would seem like if you did switch to a local mirror, the message would automatically go away. Oh well.

  2. arcticfeaher says:

    Thanks for this! I switched to a local mirror only for it to alert me that the local mirror was out of date. So I switched back to the default and that nag message was annoying me.

  3. bjd says:

    Yes this is a major annoyance; instead of adding a button ‘No’, now you have to navigate to a menu.

    Another majestic annoyance –really a bug– is the lack of changelogs; now I have (since two days) updates for mysql and for php, and both have ‘no changelog available’.
    For major packages like these that is an outrage. I am sure they are there, only mintupdate seems not to want to show them.

  4. jgs says:

    Thanks. That was just one of the little annoyances with Mint.

  5. ralphy says:

    Allan, allow me to share few remarks.

    For most users switching to a local mirror will yield better speeds, specially when updates become available in the default repository and everyone tries to get those updates at the same time.

    The feature was introduced with Linux Mint 17.3 to benefit both, end-users and master servers (main servers). Many users experienced lots of timeouts when connecting to Mint’s default repository before 17.3, which caused Update Manager to throw errors when checking for updates. The reason for suggesting local mirrors is because it really helps most users and also alleviates the immense load that the main servers have to handle; they were hammered with 50-70k requests almost 24/7. So, what some may consider a bug or annoyance, is in fact a feature aimed at resolving a problem that was affecting the community as a whole. The cost of managing and growing the project’s infrastructure isn’t cheap, specially for those who don’t have a Google’s budget not one of their datacenter.

    Linux Mint, as well as many other Linux distributions, benefit from having those mirrors and this helps every user, either directly or indirectly.

    Mint counts with approximately seventy (yeah that’s 70) up-to-date mirrors around the world. Perhaps you didn’t try more than the university mirror mentioned in you post to conclude that other mirrors are slower or just too slow. Also, the speed test in Linux Mint when selecting a mirror is just an estimate but it is far from accurate for several reasons that I’m not explaining here. Those 70 mirrors (servers) I mentioned before must connect to Linux Mint servers to sync updates when they become available; a very small file is pulled to measure download speeds during user’s test and such test doesn’t reflect the reality their servers have to face when 5000-10,000 users are trying to download updates at the same time (Linux Mint user base is way beyond those numbers). There is also network congestion, routing issues, hardware limitation, etc., etc.

    With all and all, many users have switched to other mirrors and therefore the main servers are not longer as saturated with requests as they once were, and that’s why you are not experiencing timeouts when using the default repository today.

    As a Linux entusiast and supporter myself, I run the Unlockforus mirror. I pay for 6 servers every month to contribute with the Linux Mint community in some way. The point is that not all mirrors are hosted at universities and encouraging users to use mirrors other than the default one is a win-win solution for most users (if not all) and the Linux Mint project’s budget, which mostly relays on supporters donations.

    Cheers!

    • Alan German says:

      Ralphy:

      Thank you for your detailed comments. You are quite correct in that I did not try to access multiple mirrors. I will take a look at this option.

      Alan

    • Alan German says:

      Ralphy:

      I tried a mirror in the US (i.e. not one at a Canadian university that would have been more local but which, I think, has speed issues during regular weekday hours.) The advertised throughput for this mirror was close to that of the main server; however, when I tried to access some kernel updates, the download time was going to be 8-12 minutes rather than less than one minute. While I may be using bandwidth on the main server, I am doing so for considerably less time than on the mirror, and I really appreciate the shorter download time. So, I regret, my preference remains as “Don’t suggest to switch to a local mirror”.

      Alan

  6. Ralphy says:

    Alan, thank you for following up on this. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work for you the way you expected it to work; it is what it is then. I do not use the master mirror myself and I cannot complaint about download speeds. Maybe the routing to your place or maybe just a fact that the most reliable server for you has been in fact the master one. As I mentioned before, it isn’t that master server isn’t reliable, it is a solid one indeed but it was saturated at times due to so many clients hitting it during updates (before mirrors listing made it to Linux Mint).

    If you ever feel like trying out a different one, please give Unlockforus mirror a shot (hopefully it will work for you – ignore advertised throughput.

    All the best!

  7. tdc012 says:

    Thank you! That’s been bugging me for months.

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