I hate to resurrect this thread, but here goes. A quote from Jesse Keating's most recent blog post: http://jkeating.livejournal.com/15151.html (he's speaking about FC5Test3):
"As far as infrastructure goes, this will be the first release using the
new unified SRPMs layout that I have been working on. No longer will
each arch have its own SRPM CD set. There will be one global source/
directory and within it there will be a SRPMS/ dir and an iso/ dir. The
isos being made from the SRPMS/. The SRPMS/ directory will have
repodata so that yum can be used to obtain srpms. Also I have removed
the debug/ directory from the os directory where it used to live. Now
the debug/ is on the same level as os and contains its own repodata and
repoview content. I wanted to separate debug packages from core
packages so that end users don't have to process the repo info for all
the debug packages when they are using yum. So now those of you that
need to debug stuff you can enable the debug repo and the srpm repo and
be able to do these tasks in an easier way. This also makes it easier
for mirrors to elect not to mirror debug or source content. This means
we may have to munge the mirror list a bit. For this reason (and
possibly others) the debug and source repos are pointed directly to
download.fedora.redhat.com. I urge you to check with a local mirror to
see if they are mirroring that content and if so change to use that
mirror. It will lessen the load on d.f.r.c and hopefully provide
packages to you in a faster manner."Does this mean that FC5 will have the capability to do what many people in this thread thought would be a great feature of yum? That is, in FC5 will we now be able to type something along the lines of: yum install
metacity.src. And then yum would download that src.rpm and all its dependencies? If so, this is great! Thanks to Jesse and whoever else cooperated to implement this feature. Just this small enhancement, I think, will encourage more developers to play around with the sources of their favorite RPMs. This feature makes it that much easier and more intuitive to get access to the source code.
To "preach" a little. The whole idea of free software means having easy access to the source. This is still something which I think no distro has really focused on making an integrated part of the distribution process. Maybe this is a start. I don't know about other packaging systems, but it seems most if not all RPM based distros have two separate worlds. One in which the binary packages exist and another where the source packages exist. Unification of these two worlds is certainly something worth striving for. Any feature that makes it easier for developers to get up and running on the given platform is worth implementing.
I guess the next logical progression of this feature would be to have a tool that "disassembles" the SRPMs so that one could cd to some standard directory and be able to fix some bugs in the source and then re-compile the changes (knowing headers, etc. of depended-on libraries are already in place so the build is successful). Probably something like this already exists?
My current perception of being able to develop software that's part of the Fedora environment means one needs intimate knowledge of RPM and its various spin off utilities. At least now it seems like a user-friendly tool like yum is going to assist in actually getting the SRPMs onto one's machine. Can Jesse or someone else expand on what this new feature really means if my impression is totally off-base?