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Re: shutting down httpredir.debian.org?

On 2016-04-14 05:02:18, Peter Palfrader wrote:
> Christian Rohmann schrieb am Donnerstag, dem 14. April 2016:
>> It might sound like a very non technical argument: But what apart from
>> mirrorbrain which is that powerful, free and field-proven is there as
>> alternative? I would rather work on getting pull requests ready
>> resolving the various little bugs and annoyances than to discuss
>> something completely different once again. It's not like mirrorbrain is
>> fundamentally unfit to work as good mirror redirector for Debian.
> You could argue (and I have), that that file-based redirects are not
> ideal if your update is downloading lots of little files.  The latency
> hit of many redirects is non-trivial.
> Regardless, currently httpredir.debian.org is in a bad shape, and users
> get errors when they are using it.  This is unacceptable and it needs
> fixing.
> Even pointing the name to a single server that works, such as
> ftp.debian.org, would be better than the status quo.

Personnally, I don't see many problems with the redirector at all. In
Canada/Montreal it works fine and I have not heard reports of problems
with it since I switched. Maybe the problems are specific to certain

Can people show specific bug reports they have filed that describe
problematic behavior?

> If we want to maintain some form of geographic closeness for it, then
> pointing it to deb.debian.org seems like something we could try.

Note sure what that is. http://deb.debian.org/ seems to say it uses the
Fastly CDN, at least from here.

A fundamental issue of all this is who we give our users to. Sending
Debian users to a commercial CDN is a political decision with huge
privacy implications for our users. I do not think we should redirect
httpredir like this without at least first informing our users, in
advance, so they can make an informed decision on which mirror they
trust with their metadata.

There were numerous discussions about CDNs here, and I am not sure I
would encourage the use of those in Debian right now.

> Raphael indicated that he plans to fix httpredir and keep maintaining
> it.  If that actually works out, maybe we don't need to change anything.
> We will see.

I would very much like Debian to continue hosting its own redirector,
somehow. I think it makes sense to share the work of maintaining that
software, but if possible, mirrorbrain, the *software*, not the
*service*, would replace the current HTTP redirector. In other words,
httpredir, if we take that route, should not be shutdown but
reconfigured with mirrorbrain instead of relying on a separate distinct

Does that make sense?

I'd be curious to see how I can contribute to that effort. I have a good
grasp of Python (so Mirrorbrain seems familiar) and, to a lesser extent
Perl (so I could also handle some http-redirector) and some free time,
although I would prefer to work on this in my consulting hours of

It would also be nice to see exactly what the requirements for this
project are, and what is currently missing (say priority bug reports to
fix). I feel that http-redir is leagues ahead of whatever we had before
(which is basically cdn.debian.net, and before that, nothing), so just
ditching it because it doesn't work perfectly seems like a rather
extreme measure.


One of the things the Web teaches us is that everything is connected
(hyperlinks) and we all should work together (standards). Too often
school teaches us that everything is separate (many different
'subjects') and that we should all work alone.        - Aaron Swartz

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