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Re: RFC: countrychooser and IP location

On Sun, Sep 10, 2006 at 02:03:08PM -0400, Joey Hess wrote:
> Robert Millan wrote:
> > +iplocated_country=`wget -q http://api.hostip.info/country.php -O - | head -c 2`

> This is a third-party point of failure. Altough your code does
> gracefully degrade if it fails. Would Debian be able to run this service
> itself if we decided to use this? Or would that be a bad idea? Just
> curious.

> Anyway, I rather like the idea of doing IP location, but I lean more
> toward only using the info to override the user's country in mirror
> selection, rather than overriding the whole countrychooser. For one
> thing, it wouldn't need to ask the user an insulting question ("do you
> know what country you're in?") if the iplocated country was only used to
> change the default mirror.

If we're going to try to do smart detection of a preferred mirror, it seems
to me that geopolitical boundaries are not the most significant factor.
Intervening network topography, available bandwidth, and (in some cases,
like with most ISPs in Australia) off-net traffic costs play a much bigger
role in determining a user's mirror presence, IME.  So if we're going to go
down this road, wouldn't it be better to design for all of this?

> Another reason is that physical country and network-connected country
> arn't necessarily the same; I might do a remote install in another
> country, and tell it I'm in the US, since I want all the US defaults --
> but I'd still prefer to use the iplocated country for mirror then.

Yes, which makes this an improvement over the current localechooser-derived
default, indeed. :)

Steve Langasek                   Give me a lever long enough and a Free OS
Debian Developer                   to set it on, and I can move the world.
vorlon@debian.org                                   http://www.debian.org/

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