Brett Porter provides a few steps on how you can help improve the Maven repository. My advice? Convert your project to use Maven 2 as an experiment. That's what I did with Equinox 1.5. In the process I found 28 issues with POMs at ibiblio. If you're using Ant, you can use Maven 2's Ant Tasks to download your dependencies w/o going "whole hog" and converting everything to M2.
Yes, this is a somewhat twisted attempt to convince you to endure the same pain I went through. The best and worst part of Maven 2 is its transitive dependencies. If they can all be updated to be accurate by the project owner's - the problem will be solved. But how do you convince project owner's to do that? I wonder how good Ivy's metadata is?
Why is this whole debate important to you? Because Ant 1.7 is (supposedly) going to have a dependency download mechanism. It's likely you'll use it because it is a nice convenience. Steve Loughran is one of Ant's primary developers and he has this to say:
I do find the m2 tasks and repository hard to work with, and am debating a quick investigation of Ivy. Maybe focusing on one thing -library management- has let them do a better job than trying to be all of a next generation build tool.
The "best dependency downloading tool" debate is heating up. I wonder which one will win Ant Developers over? If it's M2, I can see the Apache folks smiling. However, if it's Ivy - at least we'll know it's not a political decision. It's because it simply does a better job. May the best tool win.
NOTE: I've yet to try Ivy, and don't know if I will. Especially now that I've fixed all the POMs I use at ibiblio.