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Apt and rsync... I know...



/me brandishes a 2x4 and approaches the decomposed equine carcass 
menacingly...

I just finished doing my apt upgrade, which included updated openoffice.org 
packages.  Like many others, I have to do this over a dialup connection.  The 
openoffice.org-bin package is 43 megabytes, which is a 2 1/2 hour download 
over a 56k dialup connection, assuming you have halfway decent phone lines.

Let's take a look in changelog.Debian.gz for openoffice.org-bin:

> openoffice.org (1.1.0-5) unstable; urgency=low
> 
>   * Modified patches:
>     - recent-files.diff: #include <assert.h>, fixes build failure on
>       powerpc [RE]
> 
>  -- Rene Engelhard <rene@debian.org>  Fri, 16 Jan 2004 21:25:20 +0100

That's it.  One piddly little patch, which most likely affected one line of 
source code, required me to waste 2.5 hours of dialup bandwidth downloading 
a .deb file that's almost identical to the one I downloaded yesterday.  Am I 
the only one who finds this irritating?

Let's face it.  We need to find a way to make apt do rsync to save us some 
pain.

I remember the reason why apt is not currently doing rsync is because it hogs 
I/O and CPU cycles on the Debian servers.  That's a valid reason, but surely 
there are ways around it.

I suggest that rsync files be precalculated, so rsync downloads don't have to 
be crunched on the fly.  The servers would store .deb files - foo-x.y.z.deb, 
and they would store the rsync diffs between it and the previous version - 
foo.x.y.z-1_x.y.z.rsdeb.  That way, if the user doing an apt-get upgrade has 
the previous .deb file in his cache, apt would download the rsync diff file 
instead of the full .deb, saving loads of bandwidth, and since the rsyncs are 
precomputed and cached, the servers don't get hosed.

Am I totally off base suggesting this?

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