Were these tests done with a local mirror? It’s unclear.
I just timed an update with pacman:
Total Download Size: 339.81 MiB
Total Installed Size: 1225.02 MiB
So I don’t know why his pacman numbers are so trash, installing qemu (and its dependencies) takes 1.479s for me.
I can’t speak for other package managers, but they’re probably much better when compared to updating in macOs or Windows.
You make a good point, the article is pretty light on details. However my experience with Debian is that downloading from the main repositories is not slow, in fact it uses all the bandwidth available. The slow part is unpacking and configuring. It doesn’t help of course that I’m still using spinning disks, but I guess there are a lot of checks in place to make sure that updates don’t break the existing configuration. Decompression is usually slow, and copying a lot of file is also slow. Concurrency may be the best way to improve speed here, but it’s certainly going to add a ton of complexity. I see locks everywhere…
Ah now I remember, pacman switched to Zstandard from tar.xz: https://www.archlinux.org/news/now-using-zstandard-instead-of-xz-for-package-compression/
That’s why his pacman numbers are trash, he needs to redo them with the new packages.
Debian uses tar.gz so it makes sense that would take a while.