I subscribed to the Canonical kernel-dev list about 8 months ago and it was definitely not what I expected. It was unclear for the first few weeks what the list even did. It mostly consists of cherry picks and one line patches to fix sound drivers and such. The list is boring to say the least(as an outsider) and there is very little non-Canonical employed people contributing to the list, but isn't there a old saying that goes, "It's the little things that matter most." ;)
I will say I did post a comment to the list once and received a nice response from Tim Gardner, who appears to be in charge of kernel dev. Also, I have been using Ubuntu for 2 years and have minimal complaints and yes sometimes it can be *too* user friendly, but that comes with the territory.