Automatically select a mirror instead of main repo while first refresh

I am posting this as the first impression of a regular user is that Fdroid refresh is painful. (myself being on FOSS for decades can happily wait but a normal user is not like that). Recently we had a small street festival where we advertised free software and it was frustrating to install and display fdroid on others’ phones.

  • User install Fdroid app.
  • first open
  • download a simple text file with list of mirrors (say from https://gitlab.com/fdroid/mirror-monitor)
  • or simple text file hosted with cloudflare or some big CDN.
  • The use a random generator to choose a mirror.
  • Refresh the apps.

Thanks for the great work!

Yeah, it is annoying that the first experience is waiting for the initial index download. I did some profiling on Google Play and its experience is the same, so its a hard problem. They certainly have a lot more developers that we do. We also thought about including and index file in F-Droid to have it instantly show something. That would be possible, but including the full index would add a couple MB to the APK, which is not great.

There could be an APK devoted to fresh installs that includes the index-v1.jar. Or perhaps every F-Droid could include a small, custom index-v1.jar that includes only like 10 apps just to show something while the full index update happens.

I think there are workable solutions here. The limiting factor is someone to do the work.

Yeah, it is annoying that the first experience is waiting for the initial index download.

I meant the refresh from main fdroid repo is slow. but mirrors are super quick.
The workaround is:

  • install fdroid.
  • Disable data network
  • Open Fdroid app-> repositories and delete the main https://f-droid.org/repo
  • Add any mirror e.g: mirror.cyberbits.eu/fdroid/repo
  • Enable data network
  • Really quick initial index download.

Generally agree here but …
I would avoid comparing with big G. Mainly because regular people need to be already motivated to think and agree about FOSS - and when there is even a small inconvenience people’s interest drop to zero. (This like regular people that what linux on laptop to be perfect but still tolerate windows problems or so on! )

Isn’t the index always downloaded from the mai repo anyway and after that mirrors are used for the APKs only? @hans Or was full mirroring usage enabled in the meantime?

The index downloads first try f-droid.org, then fail over to the
mirrors. The APK downloads use a random mirror for the first try, then
continue to try all the mirrors until it succeeds.

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