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ZOL relaunches local mirror for largest Linux distros: Debian, Ubuntu & CentOS

zol-mirrrorAs we step into a new year, I can’t help but look back on the current year and wonder that there has been a lot of talk in the broadband/internet side of things locally but not a great amount actually done about it.

Now I know that sounds very negative, ISP’s have innovated quite a bit this past year, from uMax starting things by changing the game somewhat with fixed (non 3g) internet with their 20gigs for $75 plan and free modem, then ZOL blew that out of the park by saying that all their packages would no longer have a bandwidth caps forcing other providers like YoAfrica to follow suit. I’m still waiting for TelOne to also do similar across there packages as the last “big” ISP in Zimbabwe that’s yet to update/improve their packages (unlikely I know).

That’s all great in terms of internet access, but with international fibre links often having speed (or sometimes just being plain offline) issues what’s all that speed useful for if there isn’t a good amount of local content to take advantage of all that untapped speed?

Last year TechZim held its inaugural Broadband Forum at Cresta lodge, Harare, again there was lots of talk about what needs to be done, especially around the area of local content, unfortunately there hasn’t been a massive amount of take up on some of the ideas, except for at least 1 item.

Just before the event, Techzim asked via Facebook “If you had unlimited broadband at unlimited speeds, what would you use it for?” I replied somewhat candidly with,  “I’d show companies like TelOne how to run an ISP properly and start a local Datacentre for people to host servers/websites”

My idea really was about getting local content, hosted locally instead of in, say, SA, UK or even worse, the US. I was getting at hosting open source mirrors so that people could save on bandwidth costs, because this was just before most providers went “unlimited” on non-local content.

David Behr the CEO of ZOL and a director of Liquid Telecom took me up on that offer and over the course of the last few months we have been working together to bring the old ZOL mirror site up to date. The great news is, we have just pushed it all live and we are initially mirroring arguably the 3 largest Linux Operating Systems with Debian, Ubuntu and CentOS and also a few other smaller mirrors.

ZOL and myself have also been working to get the local mirror registered with the OS foundations so that for Ubuntu users in particular, you won’t even have to do anything to be pointed at the local mirror. What this means is that your updates of Ubuntu, Debian or CentOS will be faster and a lot less likely to be impacted by international fibre issues which commonly affect things – obviously if you’re still only paying for 256kbps on TelOne or similar your still only going to get that speed!

If you want to see exactly what’s mirrored, then do go and have a look at

If you have any specific requests for items for the mirror, as long as we can legally and technically mirror them, we will try and do our best to get them on there as well, so drop a request in the comments.

This article is a guest post by Anthony Somerset. Anthony is a freelance server guru, through his company Somerset Technical Solutions. Anthony is experienced in all things Linux, Windows and Mac and likes to make websites like TechZim fly

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27 thoughts on “ZOL relaunches local mirror for largest Linux distros: Debian, Ubuntu & CentOS

  1. Thank you Anthony for the article. I will have to research on what Local mirror is but for now i have a concern regarding Zol.

    customer service
    Zol Uses an automated voice machine which keeps you on hold for hours then cut you up. For the moment i cant take Zol(telone) seriously.

    1. Mirrors are basically free services done to ease pressure on the Internet. The idea being instead of pulling data from parent server you pull from closer to you hence cheaper and faster for everyone. In that regard commend ZOL and Somerset. Commenting on your perceived view of their customer service is basically off topic. You do not need their customer service to access the mirror.

      1. Thanks for the info, i think i now have a bit of knowledge about this. However as an end user ,how will i benefit if i cant get infomation from the Service provider if they are ureachable.

    2. ZOL is NOT TelONE – they are 2 different companies – be sure your talking about the right ISP there – i’ve never had many issues contacting zol support by telephone compared to TelOne – only when they have had major issues that takes there VOIP systems down have i not been able to get through by phone.

      1. I just tried calling now & they is still that gdamn Voice Machine with no answer, maybe im dialling the wrong number (+263-8677-111-111). I went on their facebook & they told me i should call… ?
        Yes Anthony Zol & Telone r diffrent but the Customer service looks the same, the other uses a Machine to handle customers & the other uses induviduals that dont know what internet is.

          1. Thanks, i got the number from their web site which i think must be updated. I’m neither a Telone o Zol customer , but i want to try the Zol wimax. Is Zol wimax a good product ?

            1. its OK, from what i have heard is that it does depend on your location to a certain extent as some base stations are supposedly more congested than others – you get what you pay for really – fibre is the way to go ultimately, but that depends how deep your pockets are

  2. If only all our Internet speeds where this fast… This is the speed of downloading an ISO from +ZOL Zimbabwe’s newly launched local mirror for popular Linux Distributions

    could be the reality if we concentrated on local content hosted
    locally, not only would it make things faster but also more affordable!

    1. agreed – i did a test download myself on 20mbps fibre – was pulling at a peak of around 23mbps 😀

  3. Great work, local mirrors will definitely boost update speeds. I remember going to WebDev/YoAfrica to get Ubuntu ISOs because 600MB would take forever to download. +1

  4. its strange how it takes less hops to get to the mirror from iWay wimax or tel one adsl as opposed to ZOL outdoor wimax and Econet Indoor wimax.

    1. you should flag that up to ZOL – i reckon iway/telone may have less routing gear (more congested perhaps) than ZOL does – number of hops isn’t a big issue unless your talking of a difference of 10-20 hops or more, RTT or latency is the king there

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