Novell has an answer. On Jan. 24, the company released the alpha version of the open-source OpenSUSE Build Service, described as an innovative framework that provides an infrastructure for software developers to easily create and compile packages for multiple Linux distributions.
For developers, Novell claims that the new build service will mean they wont need to maintain "compiler farms" of different hardware platforms to build packages for different architectures.
It will also provide automatic resolving of dependencies to other packages. If a package depends on another package, this package will be triggered for a rebuild automatically if the depending package is rebuilt.
The build service also enables programmers to link to other projects. Based on this capability, a developers patches can be tested with the newest packages from other projects.
For example, suppose a developer has a patch for the Amarok KDE music player and wants to test it in a defined environment. He can create a link to the KDE project and use it as an environment for his own tests. The result? His patched version of Amarok will always be triggered for a rebuild when the KDE project initiates a new build.
The build service can be used in several ways: via the Web Interface; via the Command Line Tool, which can use either Perl or Python; or by means of any tool that implements the public API. There is also a cross-distribution package how to and a Build Service Tutorial.