Patrick Hunt, that makes a lot of sense. Speaking for myself, I can fumble through some packaging work, but I can't claim expertise in all of the variations that you mentioned.
In Hadoop, we've made the decision to publish releases in tarball form only and defer all other packaging concerns to Bigtop. One possible additional consideration for ZooKeeper is that some users deploy it completely outside of the context of Hadoop. My own first use cases involved coordinating a distributed cache update and putting a distributed lock around some Cassandra schema modification operations that were not safe for concurrent execution at the time. Nothing else from the Bigtop ecosystem was relevant in this deployment. For those kinds of users, perhaps it's valuable for ZooKeeper to have its own release cadence with packaging support, decoupled from the Bigtop release cadence. It's definitely a trade-off though because of the maintenance costs.
I'm attaching a patch that removes the ant rpm and deb targets and all supporting properties and files. Between this and
ZOOKEEPER-2124, I think one will need to get committed and the other will be a no-fix. Alternatively, if this one goes in on trunk, then maybe ZOOKEEPER-2124 still goes into older maintenance release branches to minimize surprises for users on those branches.