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A GUI app for selecting Arch mirrors

By: Manuel
Date: 2019-Dec-12, 2020-Oct-9, 2020-Oct-12

Mirror ranking or selecting the best mirrors (package servers) can be done with a command line utility called reflector. A GUI wrapper for reflector is reflector-simple. It provides a simple graphical user interface:

All countries having Arch mirrors are shown, and any combination of them can be selected. Typical selection includes your country (if available on the list) and/or countries near your country, because usually the closest mirrors are the fastest. And note the word Worldwide in the beginning of this list, which means (as far as I know) it should work reasonably well in most geographical areas.

After the list of countries, there are some ranking options. Most of these options have a counterpart in reflector. For example, selecting Include https mirrors means using the -p https option with reflector.

The following table shows the correspondence between the selections and reflector:

SelectionRelated reflector optionPurpose
Include https mirrors--protocolInclude mirrors that use https protocol.
Include http mirrors--protocolInclude mirrors that use http protocol.
Use /etc/reflector-auto.confIf package reflector-auto is installed, you may automatically re-use its configuration file.
More information under Configuration file(s) below.
Note: starting with version 1.5-1 this selection is no more available.
Max hours from latest mirror sync--ageAccept only mirrors that have been synchronized with the master mirror within the last given number of hours.
Sort by--sortHow to sort/rank the resulting list of mirrors. The best mirrors will be placed in the beginning of the list of mirrors.
Max number of mirrors--numberReturn at most the given number of mirrors.

Command

reflector --help

gives more information about reflector’s options.

Configuration file(s)

reflector-simple supports a configuration file

/etc/reflector-simple.conf

if it exists. That file can contain command line options of the reflector command (see the example below).

The reflector options given in this file are used as the “starting point” (in version 1.5-1 and later) for the features that can be changed with the GUI. (Earlier versions overwrote the values of the GUI, which was confusing.)

About the contents of the configuration file:

  • options can be on several lines
  • options can be on the same line(s)
  • file can have empty lines, or comment lines starting with the # character

Use command reflector --list-countries to see supported country names and country codes.

A (somewhat random) example configuration file:

# Example /etc/reflector-simple.conf:

--sort age
--age 5
--number 20
--country Canada,US,"United Kingdom"

As the example shows, the country specifications can be country names (Canada, "United Kingdom") or country codes (US). Note the usage of quotes when the country name contains spaces.

Note also that file /etc/reflector-auto.conf (from the obsolete command reflector-auto) is supported if it exists and /etc/reflector-simple.conf does not. Support for the other configuration file will be removed in end the of year 2020.

More information about the configuration file(s) is here:
https://github.com/endeavouros-team/PKGBUILDS/tree/master/reflector-simple

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