Image server enhancement ideas

One thing I like about Arch and Void linux (and many other distros, I just use those the most) is the ability to host and install from mirrors of packages all over the world. This helps spread the love/burden of hosting.

It is easy to host Incus images, because this is a built-in function. But they are single points of failure.

Is there a way to introduce safe mirroring of widely-shared images that wouldn’t require a client/user to update their command line scripts?

Presumably, we would need the following:

  • Explicit, opt-in list of mirrors
  • Aliasing of a set of mirrors so a single “virtual” remote
  • Fingerprinting of images to help guard against compromised images

Speculative command line

lxc launch \
  --mirrors, \
  --image-fingerprint <...> \

or maybe

lxc launch \
  --use-mirrors \
  --image-fingerprint <...> \

…and the configuration of the virtual-remote alias is done some other way.

Something like this would allow clients to opt in to downloading from one of several servers without explicitly scripting “fail-over” if one of them goes down.

The motivation for this is to provide some tooling that helps resist centralization, even if it’s just an option.

PS: since this is just brainstorming, I’d be interested in hearing about other peoples’ ideas for improvements to image servers.

Image server infrastructure explains a bit about how the mirroring work and how one can setup their own mirror, that may be a useful starting point.

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