>They're very often done in order to make software fit Debian's "policies". The >problem is that the "policies" are arbitrary - they're Debian-only standards which >the original developer of the software may not be aware of, and there may be very >good reasons not to do things the way the "policy" says.
The developer of the software is aware that the license they distribute allows Debian, Redhat et al. to do these sorts of things with their code. If you don't like it, don't distribute your code with licenses that allow modification and redistribution.
DJB did exactly that.
>In fact as I mentioned on another one of these comment pages, the first time I >found a bug in a Debian package which didn't exist in the original source codes >(i.e. a bug which could be removed by uninstalling the Debian version of the >software and then reinstalling from the original source code) was back in 1996
I guess you never reported said bug to the package maintainer so that it could be fixed? When you "reinstalled from source", were you linking against locally built libraries or the shipped ones? There are numerous things that could have caused a bug on your system that had nothing to do with the package you experienced problems with. Like out mutual friend Chris Thomas you seem to have had one bad experience with Debian and in your eyes that seems to give you the right to bad mouth the thousands and thousands of hours of time people have volunteered into the project.
I don't even see why you brought Windows into the argument.