>Debian is a vast collection of software. For a long time, much of this software had issues with utf-8.
Hell I am not even talking about the vast software, but the base system. Simple stuff like the terminal being in utf8 mode and $LC_CTYPE being sth. like "en_US.UTF-8". I think it was Suse and Fedora that were among the first that I remember had utf8.
But you can also look at it another way if you don't like me pointing at Debian. Look at Slackware. If Debian is your standard definition of when features are complete and should be activated, then Slackware is quite late in enabling utf8.
>there's no particular reason they couldn't revisit Debian's decision [...]they could look at that subset, and, if it supported utf-8 well enough, make the switch.
Well that would have been a *real merit* if they did. But they did not do squat.