There was a discussion today on Slashdot entitled “The Future of Packaging Software in Linux”, which was actually more about the future of installing software on Linux desktops. As usual for Slashdot, most of the participants missed the real problem with the current state of installing software on Linux. The problem isn’t whether apt is better than yum, how many packages are in each distributions repository, etc.
The problem is the whole idea of having to rely on a repository at all. No matter how good the repository (or network of repositories), it still means that someone is setup as a gatekeeper between the user and the software they want.