> The upstream developers, of course, aren't beholden to anybody, but
> their nutty opinions ought to be equally of no practical interest to
As an upstream developer who has dabbled a bit in packaging, I disagree quite strongly with this.
If the upstream developer uses defaults that are not appropriate for the majority of users, then that sounds like a bug. The fact that a distribution packager can cover up the problem for a large number of users doesn't change that.
If the distribution packager isn't in a position to communicate the need for such changes with the upstream, then you've got more problems. If they can't forward bugs and patches upstream then they'll be stuck maintaining fixes locally (which is a maintenance problem, and doesn't benefit any other distros).
Looking at it from the upstream point of view I accept that distros might make some changes to the code for the purpose of integration with the rest of the system, but would prefer to see other patches forwarded upstream.
Changing this option doesn't seem related to system integration so I'd expect the distro packager to discuss it with upstream. It isn't clear whether this happened in this case though -- just the packager saying he doesn't want to maintain the patch himself.