24 Aug 2006

Downloading latest Debian packages with Jigdo

It's been a long while now since I've been using Debian flavour of Linux on my box at home. Recently, while playing with settings to install the drivers for my ZXDSL852 USB modem provided by the local ISP Telecom Plus, I did something wrong and my computer doesn't boot up.

Since I love Linux, I'll have to re-install the whole thing again. So I've decided that it were high time for me to update to the latest packages. In fact, I have an old Debian Sarge v 3.0 Testing version. Downloading the new DVD from the Internet would take me an awful amount of time. Here's some facts:

ADSL download speed: 128 kbps
DVD ISO image size: 4.6 GB
Time to download = approx. 20 days in all (approx. 6 hours per day)

Buying a DVD: I don't have a credit card yet.
So the only option is to download, or to get the DVD from a magazine or from the local Linux User Group (LUG).

I opted to download. But that would take ages! Fortunately, folks at Debian developed Jigdo. This piece of software has many advantages to download large files over the Internet. From its Web site, I quote one of them:

It is possible to "upgrade" a CD image: If a new version of an image is released, jigdo-lite can download only the data that has changed, the remaining data is read from the outdated version.

So, happily, for the next few nights, I'll turn my computer ON and see what happens. In fact, the latest Debian DVD has some 7500 packages. Jigdo will download only 5000 since 2500 repeat themselves in the distributions.

If you are wondering how I'm doing this with my Linux corrupted, then it's not that hard at all! You may guess: No, I'm not using two computers, I have a dual-boot computer which also runs Windows XP. Simple as that!

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