When upstream repositories make changes to packages, distributions take them; the changes that they then make fall into categories like bug-fixes or policy compliance. The end result is a distribution-specific package.
Such changes should be fed back upstream so that they can be available to all; in practice, this often does not happen. At times it is not workable; at others, it does not make sense to do so. The package maintainer has to maintain these changes and incorporate them into any future upstream releases.
Additionally, if other distributions are to benefit from the changes, they need to be exchanged and tracked. The end result is that the overhead for the poor package maintainer becomes very high.
What Krafft is proposing is something which, for lack of any other name, he calls a cross-distribution exchange layer. Various distributions could take the source from this layer and build their specific packages.
He says this would be a much less onerous way of maintaining packages, one which would save time and labour for every distribution.
But he acknowledges that it will take a while before the concept gains acceptance. "We are at the point where distributed version control systems are at a rather primitive stage," was how he put it.
This is not to say that there has been no progress. For the first year of its existence, it was only Krafft who was pushing the project; now, he says, there are 20 or 30 others who are aware of the project and its resources and these people are in the stage of experimentation.
"I'm trying to get the word out," Krafft said. "And what you are writing will certainly help. Lots of people are excited about the idea but it is a total paradigm shift so it will take time to gain acceptance and be used."