Wednesday, March 15, 2006

No love for mirror sites

After seeing a few bugs open against our mirror sites, I had to stop and wonder if some expectations weren't being set too high. Let's remind ourselves that Eclipse is an open-source community with projects hosted by the Eclipse Foundation. Although the Foundation receives money from membership dues to support the infrastructure (among other things), the financial resources at its disposition are not limitless.

One large cost in running Eclipse is bandwidth. One HUGE source of savings is mirror sites, which provide free bandwidth, free servers and free sysadmin time for all of us, the Eclipse project downloaders.

Granted, some mirrors are slow. Some don't sync often enough. Some of them have unexpected hardware failures that cause them to be suddenly unavailable. Some aren't configured properly. And while we do try to weed out bad mirrors, it should come as no surprise that right now, they are the reason, and the ONLY reason, that you are able to download anything Eclipse related. To remove mirrors would mean to invest a small fortune in bandwidth, servers and sysadmin resources each and every month. Bittorrent? Puh-lease. For the one Win32 Platform SDK file, only a spec of downloads came from bittorrent -- likely to improve as time goes by, but currently laughable at best.

I've open bug 131596 to see what your expectations of a free, publicly-hosted mirroring system are - knowing Eclipse, like any other OSS project, relies on its mirrors for distribution. Please read the bug and comment in it instead of commenting here.


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