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I think that ABS would pay for its extra effort if users could upload their custom packages, or at least their PKGBUILDs. It would save the effort for others. If they are not perfect, at least someone can improve them, and maybe they could end up in the main tree as well.
Recently I wanted to try QEMU cvs with the accelerator module. It doesn't use autoconf, I built it on Ubuntu, and it needed some tweaking to build cleanly (I would have to make a patch out of it for ABS). It took me some time to do it the "right" way, and I am sure this effort has and will be duplicated.
Also checkinstall doesn't output dependencies (using ldd), at least not when making .DEBs. But it's quicker.