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I'm a user of both Fedora Core 5 and Ubuntu 6.06.1 LTS. As each uses very different packaging systems (Yum/Yumex vs. Apt/Synaptic), I have become familiar with the strength/weaknesses of each. One thing in particular has been annoying on the Fedora side of things, and that's the package manager. I am trying to decide whether my frustration with this is due to design flaws or my ignorance in configuring the systems properly...
Short story of my impressions with Yum/Yumex: it's dog slow. I recall, when FC5 came out, there being praise for a "improved build of Yum with a much faster SQL backend", so I expected it to be quick. I also recall hearing several claims that Yum is now competitive with Apt in terms of speed, but my experience is that it doesn't even come close.
I'm currently running Fedora Core 5 (x86_64) on an AMD Turion64 3800+ system with a gig of RAM and a broadband connection. I prepared a rough benchmark of the time required to install amaroK on this system using Yumex. The system was up-to-date with current updates for this test.
The first waiting point with Yumex is waiting for the interface to actually become usable--that is, the interval of time between when the Yumex window appears and I am able to start adding packages: the "Initializing Repositories" task. On my machine, I had to wait 72 seconds (1:12) before I could even start adding packages.
Once Yumex became usable, I did a search for "amarok" and added the following packages to the queue:
I did not have KDE installed on this system, so there were quite a few unsatisfied dependencies on this system. I recorded the time it took to download the headers until it was ready to actually start downloading packages: 242 seconds (4:02). In fact, as can probably be inferred from my package selections, Yumex was unable to process the queue due to unresolved package dependencies (mixture of different repos). This was easy to notice for this example, but Yumex took over 4 minutes to find that out. Moreover, when I hit OK on the error message, I had to wait another 30 seconds for it to go through the "Initializing Repositories" task again.
Adding the time it takes to "Initialize Repositories" and then download headers for packages, it took more than 5 minutes of waiting just to find out that I could not install the packages that I wanted to install. I'm not trying to start a flame war about how "yUm sUx0rs" or anything like that--and I'm not even talking about the fact that Yum couldn't resolve the dependences in this example (even if it could have resolved the dependencies, it would have taken nearly as long). But I am curious as to whether anybody else shares my sentiment about the usability of Yum/Yumex. I hope I'm not sounding like a whiney baby when I say that 5 minutes is too long to wait just to prepare to install packages (no actual packages were downloaded during this entire test).
So, do I have something configured wrong here, or is this just how Yum/Yumex are?
(BTW -- If you wonder why I still use Fedora/Yum/Apt despite the fact that I find Ubuntu/Apt/Synaptic so much faster to use: I'm running a 64-bit laptop and Apt doesn't play well with mixed 32/64 bit environments.)
try playing with the metadata_expire variable in your yum.conf. if you inscrease it to
86400 then that will keep metadata for a whole day, rather than the half hour default. this makes it vastly quicker but you'll not get updates more often than once a day. you can also add a cron job to do a yum updatecheck over night to get the update data then, so you'll never need to wait for it yourself.
Thanks for your suggestion; I will definitely try that.
As an update, I have lately been unable to use Yum/Yumex to install anything on my machines lately, so I'm now suspecting that the [slow?] default mirrors might possibly be exacerbating this problem.
My latest experience with Yumex was that it would get stuck at "Populating package sack for Updates"--that is, it would download about 400kB of data, pause, then download 400kB again, pause... in an infinite loop. No ideas there.