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Monday, June 21, 2021

Enable Parallel Downloading In Pacman In Arch Linux

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Pacman version 6 is shipped with parallel downloads support. Here is how to enable parallel downloading in Pacman in Arch Linux and its variants like EndeavourOS and Manjaro Linux.

What is Parallel download support in Pacman?

The reasons why Arch Linux is loved by many people are:

  1. Pacman,
  2. Arch wiki,
  3. Rolling release model
  4. and Arch User Repository (AUR).

Ask any Arch users why they prefer Arch Linux over other distributions, they will probably point any one or all of the above aforementioned reasons.

The pacman package manager is one of the major distinguishing features of Arch Linux. It is fast, easy-to-use, and powerful package manager. Pacman is the default package manager for Arch Linux and its variants.

The latest pacman version is 6.0. The major change for this release is the implementation of parallel downloads. Yes, this feature downloads multiple files at the same time!

For instance, if you install something that need 4 dependencies, all files are downloaded in parallel by the same pacman instance, rather than one after the other.

For each file it tries mirrors serially in the order defined by mirrorlist file. If the first mirror fails for some reason then pacman will try the second mirror and so on.

In summary, Pacman 6.0 includes the following features by default:

  • parallel download support,
  • download retry support,
  • different events for download completion,
  • progress,
  • initialization,
  • multi-architecture support.

Note: Don’t confuse this feature with Powerfill, a pacman wrapper that uses parallel and segmented downloading. This is different from powerpill, and the parallel download support is now built into pacman. No need for any external wrapper or tools!

Enable parallel downloading in Pacman in Arch Linux

Parallel download support in Pacman package manager can be enabled by following the steps given below:

1 Open /etc/pacman.conf file in your preferred editor:

$ sudo nano /etc/pacman.conf

2. Find the following line and uncomment it:

ParallelDownloads = 5

Here, ParallelDownloads option specifies number of concurrent download streams. The value needs to be a positive integer. It is disabled by default and the default value is 5. If this config option is not set then only one download stream is used (i.e. downloads happen sequentially).

3. Save the file and close it by pressing CTRL+O followed by CTRL+X. From now on, you will notice that the file download happens in parallel when you perform any pacman transaction.

Conclusion

In this brief guide we discussed about pacman’s new feature called parallel downloading and how to enable parallel downloading in pacman in Arch Linux.

Parallel download support in pacman is very welcome addition and a fantastic improvement. Thanks to all the developers who made it happen!

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