Few months back I wondering about the same topic. Unfortunately dependency management and importing libraries is not the strongest suit of Hadoop related libraries and that includes ORC. We got with our project to the point when we considered forking ORC and just create our own version of it becuase we want to use it outside Hadoop. Unfortunately Hadoop related code is all over the place so we decided to just exclude a bunch of libraries and we ended up with a pom.xml like this:
Keep in mind this is an older version of ORC that is included in the Hive 1.2.1 release. I also started to work on a project to deal with Hadoop dependencies easier but we dropped the entire project altogether.
I think what would be reasonable is to have libraries like ORC at the bottom of the dependency stack (orc-core) and create a library that provides an interface for Hadoop or any project that wants to use this file format (orc-hadoop, orc-something, etc.) so that we don't have this dependency hell that you can see in projects like ORC. I am not sure who else is interested in such a project but if you are I think I could provide you some development time.