The openSuse build service develops nicely: today I noticed that some of the directories now show the repodata in an enhanced html site like it is also done in the Fedora Core repositories:
If you click on the repodata directory of the frox ftp proxy packages for Fedora Core 5 you see not only a listing of the files inside but a html page with additional information about the packages included in the directory. There you can click on the package names to get information about the packages similiar to
rpm -qi --changelog. You can also group the packages by the group, the date or the first letter, which is a little bit senseless for the directories which contain only few packages, but comes convenient for directories with larger amounts of files like the KDE directories.
All in all it is now obvious more than ever that openSuse switched completly to the XML package metadata system which is kind of nice – the only distributions not using that are now non-rpm-based and Mandriva as far as I know.
But that would make sense even for them: imagine apt for deb, the original one, would get also a XML package metadata support, and that would become a LSB standard afterwards. The result would be a single repository style every 3rd party software vendor could use to provide software. In this case, of course, apt should also be able to give rpms directly over to alien to install them, but that should be possible without to big problems.
Back to the build service, I’m really curious if it will be the first choice for software providers soon, and if there will be lots of software I would like to install but which is not available for Fedora Core for example.