In the mainstream adoption of free and open source software (FOSS), distribution editors play a crucial role: they package, integrate and distribute a wide variety of software, written in a variety of languages, for a variety of purposes of unprecedented breadth. Ensuring the quality of a FOSS distribution is a technical and engineering challenge, owing to the size and complexity of these distributions (tens of thousands of software packages). A number of original topics for research arise from this challenge. This paper is a gentle introduction to this new research area, and strives to clearly and formally identify many of the desirable properties that must be enjoyed by these distributions to ensure an acceptable quality level.
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