Just back from the big city. I was struck with how dwarvish New York is. Everyone is a cave dweller, albeit with nice silicon-covered portholes to peer out of. And they have many tunnels with many ore cars to shuttle people around. By contrast, San Francisco is obviously quite elvish.
My admiration of the Debian distribution has faded, as I've been continually exposed to the crankiness of their release machinery. Projects that are perfectly positioned at the start of the two year release process need continual vigilance to keep them in the game, as the constantly evolving standards and practices seem to invent new ways to reject working stuff. If the downstream maintainer gets distracted all their work (and the work of the upstream developer) can be removed from the release without so much as e-mail notification to either party.
I think there is a niche for a public ports-based distribution in the Linux world, similar to FreeBSD. GenToo is the closest I know of, but it seems the dominion of a .com, not a .org.