I use git-annex to manage my Sansa Clip Zip running Rockbox as a directory special remote since it has a FAT filesystem and I don't want to waste half the storage. I'd like to avoid having a copy of all my music and podcasts on my laptop as well, but git-annex only seems to be able to export files that are locally present. Would it be possible to have git-annex try to copy non-present files directly from remotes where it believes the files are present, starting with the lowest cost remote?

It would also be cool to be able to convert subdirectory information on the remote into metadata in the repository. For example, I delete podcasts after listening to them, so when git-annex detects that it could either move it into the archive dir or add a "listened" tag in the repo.

Soeaking of metadata, even though special remotes don't support it, I think it would be reasonable to treat files that have never been imported as having no metadata or some configurable default metadata per directory (like tag=listened or status=new) and use the metadata in the repo for files that have been imported previously when evaluating the wanted expression.