March 17th, 2005

Not so GNU

When you download software, are you getting the latest version? If you use a GNU mirror, you probably aren't.

GNU software is the core of most free Unix-like OSes, including Linux. The main site to download this software from is ftp://ftp.gnu.org/ but it is often overloaded and slow. GNU is nice enough to publish a list of mirror sites so that you can get software from a faster and closer site at http://www.gnu.org/prep/ftp.html. Unfortunately, MOST (not some) of the mirrors are out of date. And I'm not talking a few hours or days. A few are out of date by a month, most are outdated by at least six months, and some are out of date by two years! I realize this is all free software, but I'd expect a little better than this.

My own tests: All California mirrors outdated except Mirror Monster. All Taiwan mirrors outdated except Providence University and National Sun Yat Sen University. In a break with other regions, all Japan mirrors are up to date. A random sampling of other mirrors shows this pattern extends across other regions.

Don't believe me? Do your own tests. Click through on the mirrors on the above list and look for the most recent file/directory.