During his various talks Bryan has mentioned the use of unofficial topic repositories in Exherbo – repositories hosting packages related to a specific topic that are either mostly or completely maintained by non-developers (and by non-developers I mean people who cannot push to the official Exherbo repositories). So far, we haven’t really seen any of those mainly because most people have just kept packages in their own repositories. It gets tedious to add a lot of personal repositories just to get the latest and greatest packages people maintain though and at the end of the day it’s easier to collaborate and coordinate efforts if we can keep the related packages together, so we’ve (and by we I really mean Ali Polatel) created a media-unofficial repository hosted at github. So far alip, replica and I have pushed our media-related packages there and the repository currently contains stuff like Audacity, ncmpcpp and envtag.
Now, the point of a topic repository isn’t to give any and all push access – we want to exert a proper level of QA, even if it is an unofficial repo. But as with the official ones, pinging one of us with a decent git format-patch is all you need to contribute stuff. If you want to contribute a new media-related package, please consider whether it would be better off in -unofficial. Keeping the number of packages that we (and by we I mean Exherbo developers) have to maintain is essential if we want to continue keeping the number of developers (and by developers I mean non-non-developers) near-constant (and we want that).
The name media-unofficial does not imply that the packages are of a lesser quality than those in media.git, it does not imply that Exherbo developes want nothing to do with them, it does not imply that the packages are of dubious legality. The packages in that repository are maintained by smart people (including current Exherbo developers and current and former Gentoo developers) and we expect the quality to be as good as any official Exherbo repository.
I like the idea of topic repositories when it’s possible to draw a somewhat clear line between relevant and irrelevant packages. The whole notion of restricting who can directly touch a set of packages should help keep people from stepping on each others toes while still letting those who want to do really crazy stuff with their packages (and keep them private thankyouverymuch) do that just by copying the exheres’ to their own repositories. I hope we will see more of these as Exherbo grows – repositories maintained by groups of users and (optionally) a couple of Exherbo devs. They do all the work and we take all the credit!
Oh, and regarding that last sentence… anyone who wants to start an unofficial scientific repository and add all those things I’ve been too lazy to package? Pretty please?