Powerpill is a wrapper script written by Xyne for pacman that speeds up package retrieval by using aria2c for concurrent/segmented downloads. It determines the target packages of requested synchronization operation and then uses the mirrorlist to create a comprehensive metalink. This metalink is then piped to the download manager aria2 for package retrieval. Significant reductions in download times are often possible due to the combined effects of simultaneous and segmented downloads.
Example: One wants to update and issues a pacman -Syu which returns a list of 20 packages that are available for update totally 200 megs. If the user downloads them via pacman, they will come down one-at-a-time. If the user downloads them via powerpill, they will come down simultaneously in many cases several times faster (depending on one's connection speed, the availability of packages on servers, and speed from server/load, etc.)
A test of pacman vs. powerpill on one system revealed a 4x speed up in the above scenario where the pacman downloads averages 300 kB/sec and the powerpill downloads averaged 1.2 MB/sec.
Powerpill and its deps reside in [community] for your convenience. Installation of powerpill is trivial:
# pacman -S powerpill
Make sure you have the package perl-crypt-ssleay installed, or you won't be able to use the Reflector option (read below)
# pacman -S perl-crypt-ssleay
Powerpill has a single configure file Template:Filename you can edit to your liking. Most of it is well commented and obvious to the user.
By default, Powerpill is configured to use Reflector to append a list of the 45 most recently updated servers to its internal server list. This is to make sure that there are enough servers in the list for significant speed improvements. As this does not take server speed into account, the user may wish to set a aria2's lowest-speed-limit option in the aria2_options section of /etc/powerpill.conf:
It is also possible to change the Template:Codeline to get the fastest mirrors instead of the most recent but this is not recommended as the time it takes to rank the mirrors will be greater than the time it takes to download the packages in most cases.
The user may also simply comment out the "Reflect" line but in that case the user should have as many mirrors in their Template:Filename as the maximum number of connections in /etc/powerpill.conf. Powerpill relies on access to multiple mirrors to speed up downloads.
For most operations, powerpill works just like pacman since it is a wrapper script for pacman.
To update your system (sync and update installed packages) using powerpill, simply pass the -Syu options to it as you would with pacman:
# powerpill -Syu
Installation of packages
To install a package and its deps, simply use powerpill with the -S option as you would with pacman:
# powerpill -S package
You may also install multiple packages with it the same way you would with pacman:
# powerpill -S package1 package2 package3