Something that is asked about quite a bit in the PCLinuxOS support IRC channel is “how to change repositories”. One of the main reasons this is needed is that not all repositories are reachable depending on your geographic location. Some of the repositories are also down at random intervals. To equip the standard PCLinuxOS user with how to change repos, we first need to understand how the repository is structured, how the developers use the repositories, and how the community should make use of repositories.
How Are the Repositories Setup?
First and foremost, the repositories are setup in a “trickle down” model. Updates are pushed first to the PASS server. Only people who have donated 20 USD or more to PCLinuxOS have access to this server. It’s fast. It’s furious. It’s also the first place where packages land.
Within 24-48 hours, the updates to PASS trickle out first to the Ibiblio repository…which is the MAIN repository from which all others are updated. That means that there is only ONE repository for PCLinuxOS…all repositories are copies of the same one. So if you have more than one repository enabled in synaptic…make sure you drop it down to a single one.
How Do the Developers Use Repositories?
The developers use different parts of the repository in the following manner. All stable packages and software are in the repository base. That means that if anyone updates a stock install, they’ll get the most stable packages and software.
If you are a bit adventurous, you can try out the testing portion of the repository. The developers of PCLinuxOS push software and packages into testing that they are unsure about. This might make some people a bit unsure themselves 🙂
Developers have a private unstable repository that they push their bleeding edge software to. Other developers test these packages and provide feedback via the developer mailing list (private mailing list…not to be confused with the public ‘testers’ mailing list). Once the package/software has passed preliminary testing on all the developers systems, it is pushed out into the public testing repository.
How Can You Help?
It is important for users to help pclinuxos succeed by reporting bugs in the pclinuxos forum so that developers can track them and keep people informed of fixes. How can you help report bugs? The way I do this is by keeping my main installation at stable and I install Virtualbox (use synaptic…it’s in the repositories!) to install PCLinuxOS again. I then use that virtual machine to run a fully updated testing version of PCLinuxOS. I use the Virtualbox snapshots feature to take a snapshot before a large update so that if things break, I can rollback to the previous snapshot. It works out rather nicely and allows me to test the packages coming down the pipe.
If you do find a bug, please make sure you register for the main forums at http://pclinuxos.com and let the developers know what problem you’ve run across. Make sure to search the forum first 🙂 Someone might have reported that bug already!
Hopefully, this will clarify a few questions people have about the PCLinuxOS repositories and the workflow in between them.
How to Change Repositories: http://docs.pclinuxos.com/wiki/Repositories
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