debmirror - Man Page

Debian partial mirror script, with ftp, http or rsync and package pool support


debmirror [options] mirrordir


This program downloads and maintains a partial local Debian mirror. It can mirror any combination of architectures, distributions, and sections. Files are transferred by ftp, and package pools are fully supported. It also does locking and updates trace files.

The partial mirror created by this program is not suitable to be used as a public Debian mirror. If that is your aim, you should instead follow the instructions at <>.

This program mirrors in three steps.

1. download Packages and Sources files

First it downloads all Packages and Sources files for the subset of Debian it was instructed to get.

2. download everything else

The Packages and Sources files are scanned, to build up a list of all the files they refer to. A few other miscellaneous files are added to the list. Then the program makes sure that each file in the list is present on the local mirror and is up-to-date, using file size (and optionally checksum) checks. Any necessary files are downloaded.

3. clean up unknown files

Any files and directories on the local mirror that are not in the list are removed.



This required (unless defined in a configuration file) parameter specifies where the local mirror directory is. If the directory does not exist, it will be created. Be careful; telling this program that your home directory is the mirrordir is guaranteed to replace your home directory with a Debian mirror!

-p,  --progress

Displays progress bars as files are downloaded.

-v,  --verbose

Displays progress between file downloads.


Enables verbose debug output, including ftp protocol dump.


Simulate a mirror run. This will still download the meta files to the ./.temp working directory, but won't replace the old meta files, won't download debs and source files and only simulates cleanup.


Display a usage summary.


Print version number and exit.

-h,  --host=remotehost

Specify the remote host to mirror from. Defaults to, you are strongly encouraged to find a closer mirror.

-r,  --root=directory

Specifies the directory on the remote host that is the root of the Debian archive. Defaults to debian, which will work for most mirrors. The root directory has a dists subdirectory.


Specify the method to download files. Currently, supported methods are ftp, http, https, and rsync. The file method is experimentally supported.


Download in passive mode when using ftp.

-u,  --user=remoteusername

Specify the remote user name to use to log into the remote host. Defaults to anonymous.


Specify the remote user password to use to log into the remote ftp host. It is used with --user and defaults to anonymous@.


Specifies the http proxy (like Squid) to use for http or ftp methods.

-d,  --dist=foo[,bar,..]

Specify the distribution (etch, lenny, squeeze, sid) of Debian to mirror. This switch may be used multiple times, and multiple distributions may be specified at once, separated by commas.

You may also use the stable, testing, unstable, names.


With this option set, debmirror will not create the symlink from suite to codename. This is needed for example when mirroring archived Debian releases as they will all have either stable or oldstable as suite in their Release files.

-s,  --section=foo[,bar,..]

Specify the section of Debian to mirror. Defaults to main,contrib,non-free,non-free-firmware,main/debian-installer.

-a,  --arch=foo[,bar,..]

Specify the architectures to mirror. The default is --arch=i386. Specifying --arch=none will mirror no archs.


Allows you to also mirror files from a number of directories that are not part of the package archive itself.

Debmirror will always use rsync for the transfer of these files, irrespective of what transfer method is specified in the --method option. This will therefore not work if your remote mirror does not support rsync, or if the mirror needs a different --root option for rsync than for the main transfer method specified with --method.

Note that excluding individual files in the directories is not supported.

The following values are supported.


Download all files and subdirectories in doc directory, and all README files in the root directory of the archive.


Download all files and subdirectories in indices directory. Note that this directory can contain some rather large files; don't include this type unless you know you need these files.


Download all files and subdirectories in tools directory.


Download the remote mirror's trace files for the archive (project/trace/*). This is enabled by default.


This can be used to disable getting extra files with rsync.

If specified, the update of trace files will be done at the beginning of the mirror run; the other types are done near the end.

This switch may be used multiple times, and multiple values may be specified at once, separated by commas; unknown values are ignored.

--di-dist=dists | foo[,bar,..]

Mirror current Debian Installer images for the specified dists. See further the section "Mirroring Debian Installer images" below.

--di-arch=arches | foo[,bar,..]

Mirror current Debian Installer images for the specified architectures. See further the section "Mirroring Debian Installer images" below.


Include source in the mirror (default).


Do not include source.


Additionally download Translation-<lang>.* files, which contain translations of package descriptions. Selection of specific translations is possible using the --include and --exclude options. The default is to download only the English file.


Additionally download Contents.<arch>.gz files. Note that these files can be relatively big and can change frequently, especially for the testing and unstable suites. Use of the available diff files is strongly recommended (see the --diff option).


Use checksums to determine if files on the local mirror that are the correct size actually have the correct content. Not enabled by default, because it is too paranoid, and too slow.

When the state cache is used, debmirror will only check checksums during runs where the cache has expired or been invalidated, so it is worth considering to use these two options together.


Don't fail if the Release file is missing.

--check-gpg,  --no-check-gpg

Controls whether gpg signatures from the Release.gpg file should be checked. The default is to check signatures.


Use file as an additional gpg-format keyring.  May be given multiple times.

Note that these will be used in addition to $GNUPGHOME/trustedkeys.gpg. The latter can be removed from the set of keyrings by setting $GNUPGHOME to something non-existent when using this option.

On a typical Debian system, the Debian archive keyring can be used directly with this option:

    debmirror --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-archive-keyring.gpg ...

Don't fail if the Release.gpg file is missing. If the file does exist, it is mirrored and verified, but any errors are ignored.


Never delete any files whose filenames match the regex. May be used multiple times.


Never download any files whose filenames match the regex. May be used multiple times.


Don't exclude any files whose filenames match the regex. May be used multiple times.


Never download any files whose Debian Section (games, doc, oldlibs, science, ...) match the regex. May be used multiple times.


Limit download to files whose Debian Priority (required, extra, optional, ...) match the regex. May be used multiple times.


Never download any binary packages where the contents of fieldname match the regex. May be used multiple times. If this option is used and the mirror includes source packages, only those source packages corresponding to included binary packages will be downloaded.


Don't exclude any binary packages where the contents of fieldname match the regex. May be used multiple times. If this option is used and the mirror includes source packages, only those source packages corresponding to included binary packages will be downloaded.

-t,  --timeout=seconds

Specifies the timeout to use for network operations (either FTP or rsync). Set this to a higher value if you experience failed downloads. Defaults to 300 seconds.


Download at most max-batch number of files (and ignore rest).


Download at most number of files with each rsync call and then loop.


Specify alternative rsync options to be used. Default options are "-aIL --partial". Care must be taken when specifying alternative options not to disrupt operations, it's best to only add to those options.

The most likely option to add is "--bwlimit=x" to avoid saturating the bandwidth of your link.


Clean up the local mirror but only after mirroring is complete and only if there was no error.

This is the default, because it ensures that the mirror is consistent at all times.


Clean up the local mirror before starting mirroring.

This option may be useful if you have limited disk space, but it will result in an inconsistent mirror when debmirror is running.

The deprecated --cleanup option also enables this mode.


Do not clean up the local mirror.


Don't re-download Packages and Sources files. Useful if you know they are up-to-date.


If --diff=use is specified and the Release file contains entries for diff files, then debmirror will attempt to use them to update Packages, Sources, and Contents files (which can significantly reduce the download size for meta files), but will not include them in the mirror. This is the default behavior and avoids having time consuming diff files for a fast local mirror.

Specifying --diff=mirror does the same as use, but will also include the downloaded diff files in the local mirror. Specify --diff=none to completely ignore diff files.

Note that if rsync is used as method to download files and the archive being mirrored has "rsyncable" gzipped meta files, then using --diff=none may be the most efficient way to download them. See the gzip(1) man page for information about its rsyncable option.


Specify alternative options to be used when calling gzip(1) to compress meta files after applying diffs. The default options are -9 -n --rsyncable which corresponds with the options used to gzip meta files for the main Debian archive.

These options may need to be modified if the checksum of the file as gzipped by debmirror does not match the checksum listed in the Release file (which will result in the gzipped file being downloaded unnecessarily after diffs were successfully applied).


By default debmirror saves some bandwidth by performing cpu-intensive tasks, such as compressing files to generate .gz and .xz files. Use this mode if the computer's CPU is slow, and it makes more sense to use more bandwidth and less CPU.

This option implies --diff=none.


Save the state of the mirror in a cache file between runs. The cache will expire after the specified number of days, at which time a full check and cleanup of the mirror will be done. While the cache is valid, debmirror will trust that the mirror is consistent with this cache.

The cache is only used for files that have a unique name, i.e. binary packages and source files. If a mirror update fails for any reason, the cache will be invalidated and the next run will include a full check.

Main advantage of using the state cache is that it avoids a large amount of disk access while checking which files need to be fetched. It may also reduce the time required for mirror updates.


Normally debmirror will report an error if any deb files or sources fail to download and refuse to update the meta data to an inconsistent mirror. Normally this is a good things as it indicates something went wrong during download and should be retried. But sometimes the upstream mirror actually is broken. Specifying --ignore-small-errors causes debmirror to ignore missing or broken deb and source files but still be pedantic about checking meta files.


The directory name for a dist should be equal to its Codename and not to a Suite. If the local mirror currently has directories named after Suites, debmirror can rename them automatically. An existing symlink from codename to suite will be removed, but debmirror will automatically create a new symlink suite -> codename (immediately after moving meta files in place). This conversion should only be needed once.


When https is used, debmirror checks that the SSL certificate is value.

If the server has a self-signed certificate, the check can be disabled with this option.


On each pull, keep the repository meta data from dists/* in a numbered subdirectory, and maintain a symlink latest to the most recent pull. This is similar to Debmarshal in tracking mode, see for examples and use. debmirror cleanup is disabled when this flag is specified. Separate pool and snapshot cleanup utilities are available at


Specify a configuration file. This option may be repeated to read multiple configuration files. By default debmirror reads /etc/debmirror.conf and ~/.debmirror.conf (see section Files).

Experimental options


While downloading Packages and related files via rsync, try up to this many times if rsync fails to connect. Defaults to 1, to try only once. (A typical nondefault value is 10. To try an unlimited number of times, use -1 or 0.)

Using Debmirror

Using regular expressions in options

Various options accept regular expressions that can be used to tune what is included in the mirror. They can be any regular expression valid in perl, which also means that extended syntax is standard. Make sure to anchor regular expressions appropriately: this is not done by debmirror.

The --include and --exclude options can be combined. This combination for example will, if the --i18n option is used, exclude all Translation files, except for the ones for Portuguese (pt) and Brazillian (pt_BR):

  --exclude='/Translation-.*' --include='/Translation-pt.*'

Mirroring Debian Installer images

Debmirror will only mirror the "current" images that are on the remote mirror. At least one of the options --di-dist or --di-arch must be passed to enable mirroring of the images.

The special values "dists" and "arches" can be used to tell debmirror to use the same dists and architectures for D-I images as for the archive, but it is also possible to specify different values. If either option is not set, it will default to the same values as for the archive.

If you wish to create custom CD images using for example debian-cd, you will probably also want add the option "--rsync-extra=doc,tools".


There are no progress updates displayed for D-I images.

Archive size

The tables in the file /usr/share/doc/debmirror/mirror_size give an indication of the space needed to mirror the Debian archive. They are particularly useful if you wish to set up a partial mirror. Only the size of source and binary packages is included. You should allow for around 1-4 GB of meta data (in ./dists/<dist>) per suite (depending in your settings). Plus whatever space is needed for extra directories (e.g. tools, doc) you wish to mirror.

The tables also show how much additional space is required if you add a release on top of its predecessor. Note that the additional space needed for testing and (to a lesser extent) unstable varies during the development cycle of a release. The additional space needed for testing is zero immediately after a stable release and grows from that time onwards.

Note Debmirror keeps an extra copy of all meta data. This is necessary to guarantee that the local mirror stays consistent while debmirror is running.


Simply make a mirror in /srv/mirror/debian, using all defaults (or the settings defined in debmirror.conf):

  debmirror /srv/mirror/debian

Make a mirror of i386 and sparc binaries, main only, and include both unstable and testing versions of Debian; download from '':

  debmirror -a i386,sparc -d sid -d etch -s main --nosource \
            -h --progress $HOME/mirror/debian

Make a mirror using rsync (rsync server is ''), excluding the section 'debug' and the package 'foo-doc':

  debmirror -e rsync $HOME/mirror/debian --exclude='/foo-doc_' \



    Debmirror will look for the presence of these files and load them
    in the indicated order if they exist.
    See the example in /usr/share/doc/debmirror/examples for syntax.


    When gpg checking is enabled,
    debmirror uses gpgv to verify Release and Release.gpg using the
    default keying ~/.gnupg/trustedkeys.gpg. This can be changed by
    exporting GNUPGHOME resulting in $GNUPGHOME/trustedkeys.gpg being
    used.  (Note that keyring files can also be specified directly
    with debmirror's --keyring option -- see above).

    To add the right key to this keyring you can import it from the
    debian keyring (in case of the debian archive) using:

      gpg --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/debian-archive-keyring.gpg --export \
          | gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring trustedkeys.gpg --import

    or download the key from a keyserver:

      gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring trustedkeys.gpg \
          --keyserver --recv-keys <key ID>

    The <key ID> can be found in the gpgv error message in debmirror:
    gpgv: Signature made Tue Jan 23 09:07:53 2007 CET using DSA key ID 2D230C5F


   Joey Hess <>

 Previous maintainers:
   Joerg Wendland <>
   Goswin von Brederlow <>
   Frans Pop <>
   Joey Hess <>
   Thaddeus H. Black <>

 Current maintainer:
   Colin Watson <>


Waste bandwidth -- put a partial mirror on your laptop today!


2024-01-24 perl v5.38.2 User Contributed Perl Documentation