28 February 2012

84. Downloading Debian installation ISOs using jigdo

Jigdo is the preferred way of downloading and maintaining debian ISOs for those who can't use torrents (e.g. company policies etc.). The advantage is that you only need to download what has changed since you last used jigdo, thus saving on traffic.

What I'm showing here is also described on the debian website -- my contribution is just to provide another, perhaps more detailed, example.

Anyway, it's fairly easy to use jigdo:
sudo apt-get install jigdo-file

mkdir ~/debiso
cd ~/debiso

Pick a url from here: http://www.debian.org/CD/jigdo-cd/#which
I'll use a jigdo file for amd64 testing by clicking here http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/jigdo-cd/ and picking the following url:

You also need to pick a mirror -- your country mirror or a nearby university are good choices. I picked ftp://ftp.au.debian.org/debian.

Here's how it works:

me@beryllium:~/jigdo$ jigdo-lite

Jigsaw Download "lite"
Copyright (C) 2001-2005  |  jigdo@
Richard Atterer          |  atterer.net
Loading settings from `/home/me/.jigdo-lite'

To resume a half-finished download, enter name of .jigdo file.
To start a new download, enter URL of .jigdo file.
You can also enter several URLs/filenames, separated with spaces,
or enumerate in {}, e.g. `http://server/cd-{1_NONUS,2,3}.jigdo'
jigdo [http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/jigdo-cd/debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.jigdo]: http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/jigdo-cd/debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.jigdo

Not downloading .jigdo file - `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.jigdo' already present

Images offered by `http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/jigdo-cd/debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.jigdo':
  1: 'Debian GNU/Linux testing "Wheezy" - Official Snapshot amd64 CD Binary-1 20120220-05:20 (20120220)' (debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.iso)

Further information about `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.iso':
Generated on Mon, 20 Feb 2012 05:33:08 +0000

If you already have a previous version of the CD you are
downloading, jigdo can re-use files on the old CD that are also
present in the new image, and you do not need to download them
again. Mount the old CD ROM and enter the path it is mounted under
(e.g. `/mnt/cdrom').
Alternatively, just press enter if you want to start downloading
the remaining files.
Files to scan: 

The jigdo file refers to files stored on Debian mirrors. Please
choose a Debian mirror as follows: Either enter a complete URL
pointing to a mirror (in the form
`ftp://ftp.debian.org/debian/'), or enter any regular expression
for searching through the list of mirrors: Try a two-letter
country code such as `de', or a country name like `United
States', or a server name like `sunsite'.
Debian mirror [http://sluglug.ucsc.edu/debian/]: ftp://ftp.au.debian.org/debian

Downloading .template file
--2012-02-28 10:22:04--  http://cdimage.debian.org/cdimage/weekly-builds/amd64/jigdo-cd/debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.template
Resolving cdimage.debian.org (cdimage.debian.org)... 2001:6b0:e:2018::138, 2001:6b0:e:2018::163,, ...
Connecting to cdimage.debian.org (cdimage.debian.org)|2001:6b0:e:2018::138|:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 200 OK
Length: 48901055 (47M) [text/plain]

Saving to: `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.template'

100%[===================================================================================================================================================>] 48,901,055  4.92M/s   in 15s     

2012-02-28 10:22:19 (3.16 MB/s) - `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.template' saved [48901055/48901055]


FINISHED --2012-02-28 10:37:02--
Total wall clock time: 4.1s
Downloaded: 3 files, 311K in 2.4s (128 KB/s)
Found 3 of the 3 files required by the template                                                                                                                                  
Successfully created `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.iso'

The fact that you got this far is a strong indication that `debian-testing-amd64-CD-1.iso'
was generated correctly. I will perform an additional, final check,
which you can interrupt safely with Ctrl-C if you do not want to wait.

OK: Checksums match, image is good!  

All the necessary packages are downloaded so it takes a while. Once it's done, the iso is automatically built.

If you want to update your iso - delete it and run jigdo-lite again.


  1. I have never used Jigdo before. As at 15th June 2013 there are 68 .jigdo and .template files on the Wheezy mirror. Do I simply paste the URL of the first .jigdo file and it finds all the rest:
    or do I paste all the numbers:

    I'm glad I found your blog - it contains many useful Debiab-related posts.
    Best regards,

    1. CD 1 is enough, in particular if you have an internet connection. But CD 1 on its own should be enough for the default setup with a working GUI and the default programmes.

      There's a debian CD FAQ here: http://www.debian.org/CD/faq/

      See in particular http://www.debian.org/CD/faq/#which-cd

      In practical terms, as long as you have internet conneciton you only need CD 1.

    2. Thank you.