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I'm tired of downloading 300mb updates. Windows has done delta updating since XP. It's just silly to download the whole thing if just a few bits of the package change.

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4 Answers 4

up vote 17 down vote accepted

There is nothing on upgrading via deltas. So, no, as of today there seem to be no plans.

Incremental updates have been introduced to apt around the time of the Dapper release (apt 0.6.44). The ubuntu developer community rejected using them because of incompatibilities with their infrastructure.

There is no need to submit it to revu. We are aware of the incremental update feature in apt. The apt--pdiff (1) branch (that the version in debian uses) is not merged for ubuntu (yet) because:

  1. we are late in the release cycle (obviously :)

  2. it needs archive support to generate diff files and a diffIndex

  3. it only works on indexfiles, not packages

  4. its not entirely clear if it is the right solution for ubuntu

–– Michael Vogt on 25th of May 2006

Here is a list of everything that's happening, and going to happen, in 11.04 (excluding what is not publicly tracked).

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No .deb files are the de-facto method of installing and updating.

The method you mention is called delta updates and has been rejected as a method for several reasons, one of them being that calculating what to download takes up too much time (more mentioned in the link in the comments).

An alternative might be apt-fast.

Apt-fast is a script that can "drastically improve APT download speed" by using command line download accelerators such as Axel or Aria2 with multiple connections per package.

Installation

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:apt-fast/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apt-fast

Examples

It works the same as apt-get but you use (2 examples):

sudo apt-fast install PACKAGE
sudo apt-fast upgrade

apt-fast can also stop and resume downloads and download a package into a directory with apt-fast download PACKAGE.

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There is a blueprint for it, and I would love to be able to make it happen for all sorts of reasons, but we haven't been able to find the time to do it - it doesn't help that it requires a significant chunk of time from the Launchpad archive infrastructure team, which has been entirely swamped. It's still very much on our back-burner list for whenever we do find the time, though.

One likely issue is that the more you compress packages, the harder it is to sync them. This is a fairly fundamental property of good compression algorithms. It may be that even once we implement this there'll be some packages that will sync little better than the current situation.

Other information:

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Delta-RPM was touted as the next killer package management feature, but it was less than fabulous mainly because of the calculations required. True if you are on a highly restricted bandwidth connection, it will save your time, but if all you want to do to save time consider using apt-fast a faster front-end to dpkg.

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