The vendor of my favorite GUI for R, viz., RStudio.com, has recently started maintaining its own mirror of the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN), the primary server for which is maintained by the Institute for Statistics and Mathematics of WU (Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien).
The RStudio.com mirror offers an interesting potential advantage for users. Explaining this is the following excerpt from the RStudio Blog:
"RStudio maintains its own CRAN mirror, http://cran.rstudio.com. The server itself is a virtual machine run by Amazon’s EC2 service, and it syncs with the main CRAN mirror in Austria once per day. When you contact http://cran.rstudio.com, however, you’re probably not talking to our CRAN mirror directly. That’s because we use Amazon CloudFront, a content delivery network, which automatically distributes the content to locations all over the world. When you try to download a package from the RStudio cloud mirror, it’ll be retrieved from a local CloudFront cache instead of the CRAN mirror itself. That means that, no matter where you are in the world, the data [don’t] need to travel very far, and so [are] fast to download."
I've tried out the RStudio.com mirror myself, and I have the impression (admittedly, merely a subjective one) that this mirror is indeed fast. In my case, I have for some time been using the CRAN mirror maintained by the University of California, Berkeley (UCB); its service has been generally good, but occasionally slow. (I need to acknowledge that I haven't tried to ascertain whether the occasional slownesses were due to that mirror itself or to network delays.)
In any case, my experience with the RStudio.com mirror has been satisfactory enough that today I changed my desktop's repository for R from UCB to RStudio.com. In case you would like to try this yourself, here is the APT line to be added to the "Other Software" tab of the " Software Sources" window in the Synaptic Package Manager:
Of course, if you are not using Precise Pangolin, then replace "precise" by the name of your version of Ubuntu.Code:deb http://cran.rstudio.com/bin/linux/ubuntu precise/