Something that struck me as I was preparing the latest HiveMind release just now. Why do we in the open-source world bother with separating the binary and source distributions?
Take HiveMind. The binary distribution follows standard procedure: it includes all sorts of documentation. Because of the use of Maven, the documentation set is out of control, but even so, what we have is a 281KB (uncompressed) JAR distributed inside 16,526KB (uncompressed) of documentation. Meanwhile, the source code is just another 1,257KB (uncompressed).
The binary distributions are 3.1MB/1.5MB (.zip vs. .tar.gz) and the source distributions are 556KB/229KB. In other words, adding the source to the binary distribution would not be particularly noticeable ... just an additional second or two at broadband speeds.
If I had my say (which, count to think of it, I largely do) I would produce a combined binary/src distribution and have the documentation as the add-on. A combined binary/source distribution would be approximately 50%/100% larger (since the JAR file is already itself compressed). If you assume that most people download the binaries and source together but largely read the documentation on-line (at least until they get serious about a package) ... then a combined bin/src distro is a win.
Certainly when I've used other packages, I've wasted a lot of time unpacking the binary distribution, using the jar, then having to get the source jar and connect it up inside Eclipse to I could actually debug code that uses the library.
This approach would be better for slow connection users as well; they would get what they need to work (the binary and the source) and could cherry pick the documentation they need from a live web site. Certainly, anyone serious about a package would want the full documentation on their own hard drive ... but why pay that cost just to take a peek? Distributing binaries with (full) documentation makes every user pay that download cost ... or keeps some users from bothering to evaluate the package at all.
It's open-source. The point is to buck tradition and think for ourselves.