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This defect is occurring again as of February 1st, 2010. Last Friday, the "site" mojo worked perfectly, and this Monday morning, it's broken with the original error message:
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[INFO] SiteToolException: ArtifactNotFoundException: The skin does not exist: Unable to determine the release version
Try downloading the file manually from the project website.
Then, install it using the command:
mvn install:install-file -DgroupId=org.apache.maven.skins -DartifactId=maven-default-skin -Dversion=RELEASE -Dpackaging=jar -Dfile=/path/to/file
Alternatively, if you host your own repository you can deploy the file there:
mvn deploy:deploy-file -DgroupId=org.apache.maven.skins -DartifactId=maven-default-skin -Dversion=RELEASE -Dpackaging=jar -Dfile=/path/to/file -Durl=[url] -DrepositoryId=[id]
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Since we do not require any special configuration for the site, we do not have a site.xml file, and shouldn't need one, right? CoC, anyone?
I'm running Maven v2.2.1, with Java 1.6.0_17, on Windows XP SP2 64bit, but it seems to occur for everyone (we all have Maven v2.2.1) on all platforms here when attempting to call "mvn site" on our project.
Maven needs to be a bit more stable going forward... When things work fine one day, and the next day it's all broken because a single person can screw up some essential part of Maven in the central repo. We are seriously considering moving back to Ant at this point, as our business cannot be hindered and held hostage by some maverick developer messing up the central repo of core plugins. Reopen this ticket, and fix it, so we can build again, please.