Speed Up Program Installs / Upgrades in Ubuntu

If you’re an Ubuntu power user, you’re probably aware of apt-get. apt-get is a command line tool often used for installing and updating new software in Debian based distributions such as the very popular Ubuntu.

Now, if you’re familiar with apt-get you would have probably noticed that apt-get downloads the files with a single connection. Now what if there was a way a file could be split up into multiple pieces and each piece could be downloaded independently, similar to what download managers such as FlashGet / Internet Download Manager would do ?

Enter apt-fast. apt-fast is an apt-get supplement/replacement script by Matt Parnell. Basically apt-fast does pretty much the same thing as apt-get does, except that the download part of it is handled by axel. The result being that your program installation downloads finish faster. A lot faster. Up to 26-times, according to Matt.

Here are the steps in setting up apt-fast:

Install axel

Even though apt-fast can detect and auto-install axel if it’s not installed, let’s do it by ourselves. As usual, it’s apt-get to the rescue.

sudo apt-get install axel

Download apt-fast script

Download apt-fast.sh from here. Save it to your home directory.

Setup apt-fast

Before we can start using apt-fast we need so setup certain things – permissions and the like. First, move apt-fast to /usr/bin

sudo mv ~/apt-fast.sh /usr/bin/apt-fast

Note: sudo is required here since a regular user does not have permissions to write to /usr/bin directory.

Give permissions to apt-fast to make it executable

sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/apt-fast

Wrapping it up

That’s about all that is required to setup apt-fast. So now, instead of using apt-get to install software, just use apt-fast. Axel will download the software, and apt-get will perform the installation. The below screenshot should how the downloads look like now.

apt-fast downloads

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