man apt-spy (Administration système) - program to generate a /etc/apt/sources.list file


apt-spy - program to generate a /etc/apt/sources.list file


apt-spy -d distribution [ -a area ] [ -c config ] [ -e number ] [ -f file ] [ -i file ] [ -m mirror-list ] [ -o output-file ] [ -p proxy ] [ -s country-list ] [ -t time ] [ -u update-URL ] [ -w file ] [ -n number ] [ -h ] [ -v ] [ update ]


This manual page documents briefly the apt-spy command.

apt-spy is a program that tests a series of Debian archive mirrors for bandwith. It writes an /etc/apt/sources.list with the fastest server.

You can select which of the many Debian sites to benchmark by geographical location.


-d distribution
Debian distribution to use. Sensible values would be `stable', `testing' or `unstable'. This value is directly used in the generated sources.list, and is required unless updating.
-a area
This will cause only servers in the specified area to be benchmarked. By default, valid values for area are `Africa', `Asia', `Europe', `North-America', `Oceania' and `South-America'. It is very easy to define your own areas or subset of servers to benchmark. For further details see apt-spy.conf(5).
-c config
configuration file to use instead of /etc/apt-spy.conf.
-e number
`early finish'. Stop benchmarking after number of servers have been completed. Act as if all servers were benchmarked upon completion.
-f file
file to grab from the Debian servers. By default apt-spy will test the servers by getting part of the `ls-lR' file in the base of the Debian tree on the mirror. This tells apt-spy to get file instead. It is assumed that this file is also relative to the Debian base directory.
-i file
use file as input for apt-spy. You should generate this input file using the -w option.
-m mirror-list
where to load the mirrors list from or where to save it to. The default location is /var/lib/apt-spy/mirrors.txt. Using this option allows you to specify a different location. When updating, this defines where the updated mirrors list will be saved.
-o output-file
location for the new sources.list. By default the new file is created as /etc/apt/sources.list.
-p proxy
use proxy as a prxy server. This should be specified as `hostname:port'.
-s country-list
A comma-separated list of countries to benchmark. At the moment, this cannot be used with the "area" option.
-t time
how long (approximately) in seconds to download for. By default time is 15 seconds. How long the benchmark actually downloads for varies due to the way libcurl works. With the default 15 seconds, the benchmark generally takes beween 10 and 25 seconds. Each server has potentially two protocols (ftp and http) so roughly one minute per server would be a reasonable estimate of how long it should take. Be aware that this does vary considerably, and that benchmarking any more than a very few servers takes considerable time (possibly several hours for `-a All').
-u update-URL
specify custom URL to get an updated mirrors list from. This can be http, ftp, file, or any other URL type supported by libcurl.
-w file
write a number of top servers to file in a format suitable for use with the -i option. The number of servers to output can be specified with the -n option, and defaults to 5.
-n number
the number of top servers to write with the -w option.
connect to and download the mirror list to /var/lib/apt-spy/mirrors.txt. The -u or -m options may be used to respectively specify a different URL for the mirrors list or a different location for the downloaded file.
output a version number.
print a short usage message.



apt-spy and this manual page was written by Steven Holmes <>.

The original version of apt-spy was written by Danny Rodriguez <>.

This version is a total rewrite.