Best free or low cost places to host a Linux distro repository

Forum: LinuxTotal Replies: 15
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Jan 28, 2012
4:37 PM EST
As some of you know I'm involved with a project that has created a code base being used by a few Linux distros now in development. I'm also involved directly with two of those distros and one is getting ready to do a first public release. Ahead of that we need to have a publicly available repository and, hopefully, at least a couple of mirrors.

How is Ibiblio nowadays?

I thought about the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University but I found their service problematic at times when I was doing repo maintenance for Vector Linux and, last I checked, they want a donation or else they give a distro low priority, whatever that means. We're all a bit cash strapped nowadays. How much money do they really expect for a service that is less than reliable?

Does anyone have any other low cost or no cost suggestions that will allow the developers to add repo maintenance scripts and generally have a free hand in managing the repository?

Thanks in advance for sharing any ideas or experiences you may have.


Jan 28, 2012
6:33 PM EST
If the distro has a solid user base already, do you think you could set up something using BitTorrent?

Jan 29, 2012
1:34 AM EST
It's new so there is no user base. Hosting the .iso files is no problem as SourceForge will do that. It's a matter of the individual software packages for updates and additional apps. So, no, BitTorrent won't do.

Jan 29, 2012
2:07 PM EST
Have you looked into setting up a public repository on github?

Another idea would be to set up your own server and configure it as you see fit. If the traffic was low, you could host it at minimal cost on your existing DSL connection.

A lot of people seem to be fixated on the false idea that servers _must_ reside in a big datacenter with gigabit fibers coming out of the four corners, but nothing could be further from the reality of it. Especially when just starting a project, while the bandwidth requirements are low, a simple computer box tied to a dsl line serves many needs just fine. Back in 1999 I ran commercial web sites on a 256Kbit/second DSL line, and it worked out just fine until two years later when the traffic justified moving to a datacenter.

If you do set up your own server, you could use git or mercurial for your public repository, and offer a small web site for communicating project status and coordinating activities.

Many DSL providers will also give you a static IP address for an extra $5 or $10. With that you can register a domain fixed to that address.

Jan 30, 2012
11:35 AM EST
I use the server provider Linode for Bodhi Linux. They are fairly cheap for the service they offer and their speeds are fantastic and the service is reliable.


Jan 30, 2012
3:36 PM EST
@Jeff91: My only concern with Linode was the bandwidth limitations if the project should become popular. I've used them for development/testing and I know their service is excellent.

@penguinist: There are a whole bunch of reasons why self-hosting wouldn't be practical here which I'm not going to delve into here. During the latest development period I've done as you suggest and it does work but it's not something I want open to the public.

As far as repo software is concerned, this is a Slackware based distro and straightforward http/ftp servers are probably the easiest way to go. We have the repo structure and maintenance scripts in place in the test environment that we're going to stick with. I don't see the need to go into a version control system for a repo. We do use git for the code we're developing specifically for the distro but that is going to remain strictly for developers.

Jan 31, 2012
12:27 PM EST

Jan 31, 2012
3:24 PM EST
I'm familiar with TudFamily. Since the project is a Linux distribution (or actually several Linux distributions built around a common code base) they won't host it:

Quoting:The nth revolutionary Linux distribution of the day. There already exists many distributions for various needs and many of them are already highly configurable and/or simple enough. So, please, stop requesting 5 GB of disk space for the 42 pre-releases of your <insert popular distribution here>-based distribution with a custom wallpaper and five extra pre-installed packages that will ease everybody's life (c). Those 5 GB of saved space will allow us to host 51 regular, pertinent projects. If by chance you have reasons to believe that your distribution is daring, pertinent or even original, then you can submit it to our moderation process :)

The Yarok Project distros are all aimed at what are currently poorly served niches where existing distros might/could do the job but would require a lot of extra work. However, when all is said and done they are just Linux distros.

Feb 03, 2012
3:23 PM EST
@caitlyn and @gus3

I would put in my own opinion that it is much better to first go with the standard http/ftp servers rather than go through a bittorrent as gus3 suggests. It seems to me that even lower-end PC's can access the new Slackware-based project's "individual software packages", whereas these lower-capacity PC's might do much more POORLY with participating in torrents. Other so-called "experts" will disagree with my suggestion to avoid torrents here... AAMOF, they CONTINUE to do so at various other threads ;)

Just me own 2c.

Feb 03, 2012
4:04 PM EST
How about hijacking another distro? Instead of making your own new distro, base your distro off an existing one, with custom changes (much like Mint does to Ubuntu). Then, set it up so that your hosting service only supplies the components that are different from the base distro, and for everything else just pulls them from that distro's repos.

Feb 03, 2012
4:23 PM EST
I think another nice advntage for a hosted http/ftp server is that this could very well help avoid distro-package downloading problems in places where using torrents are illegal, such as through ISPs in New Zealand.


Feb 03, 2012
11:06 PM EST
flufferbeer: torrents are not illegal in new zealand. read this thread for details:

greetings, eMBee.

Feb 08, 2012
6:39 PM EST
@flufferbeer: Bittorrent is not an option. The package manager has to access individual packages.

@Khamul: Yarok is not new. It's been around since 2008. It just hasn't had announced/public releases and has been used for specific projects. The change is to release public builds by various developers. While the distro was built from scratch at one time it is now Slackware based. The upstream repo is leveraged but it is small and grossly insufficient. We toyed with also using the SalixOS repos but there are potential conflicts and the build system is somewhat different which also causes issues. It just isn't practical. Plus, we most definitely have unique packages which have to be hosted somewhere.

Feb 08, 2012
11:25 PM EST
caitlyn: decent bittorrent clients can access individual files in a torrent. although i admit i'd prefer if the torrents would align the start of each file to a block boundary. it would not be hard to do that and if the torrent format would be extended to handle the padding it would be space efficient too.

is there a website about the yarok project? trying to search for it only results in pages about you with the project mentioned.

Quoting:The Yarok Project distros are all aimed at what are currently poorly served niches where existing distros might/could do the job but would require a lot of extra work.

do you start your distro from scratch? or what are you using for a base? you might want to look at Foresight Linux. the conary package management toolchain makes developing and maintaining custom distributions much easier then debian, fedora or other distributions out there.

greetings, eMBee. (i am a member of the Foresight development team)

Feb 10, 2012
12:48 AM EST
The project website will be up in a week or two. We want to be nearly ready to release when it goes live. Individual distros based on Yarok may also have separate sites if the lead developers chose to have them.

conary has never been considered nor will it ever be, at least if I'm to remain involved. I'm the co-lead developer of the project as a whole so I have some say in the matter. Oddball distros and package managers are of zero interest to us. As noted above, we went from building from scratch to basing off of Slackware. As one of the goals was small/lightweight that has worked well. We're sticking with Slackware packaging with automated dependency resolution. We did consider rpm as 1) it is the only package management system that is part of the Linux Standards Base (LSB) and, 2) I really like it. It is, however, more resource intensive that Slackare packaging.

BTW, I tried Foresight a couple of years ago. It didn't like my hardware at all.

Apr 14, 2012
3:58 PM EST
OK, at this point the repo during the alpha testing stage will be on Linode with the isos over on SourceForge. To reduce traffic the sources will be available only as an iso on SourceForge. I'm also going to apply for space on

One of my original questions remains unanswered: How much of a "donation" does the Open Source Lab at Oregon State University want for hosting a distro repository? Does anyone know?

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