As upstream for one of the Ubuntu packages (xf86-video-intel) I can say
that this is definitely not a smokescreen. My interactions with the Ubuntu
packagers have been great. They file good quality bug reports, are
conscientious about getting needed info, and often attach patches we can
apply directly. That's not to say other distros don't do the same (the
Debian, Gentoo and Mandriva guys are also very helpful), but Ubuntu
definitely does the right thing here.
Interestingly Fedora/Red Hat don't interact much with our bug system (i.e.
I rarely see Fedora bugs get reported to the upstream bug tracker), which
is a shame, but that's more than offset by direct developer participation
from the Red Hat guys (people like airlied, mjg59 and ajax put a lot into