I think Java's Maven offers an interesting model: the biggest public registry/repository is maintained by Sonatype, which afaik is also a private company, if an older and stabler one than npm. However, the Maven POM format makes including other and multiple registries extremely simple and there's no shortage of mirrors. Node package.json files don't allow for this: you're locked into one registry at a time. I got started with Node a year or two after npm became the dominant registry but I've often wondered how and why that turned out the way it did.
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