I also did like them, back when there was not much OSS software. But it's not 1995 any more, and now we have loads and loads of OSS packages for almost everything.
I tend to think that the 80/20 rule also applies to software (yes, all software), thus much of what is there is crap. A process that sinks crap and lets the good stuff stay afloat is really needed to ensure a sane evolution of the good software. Some distributions (Debian and Ubuntu at least) let this up to the user, in the form of a popularity contest. Wrong. This is _the_ task that the packager should be doing.
All those "minor modifications" just make things _unnecessarily_ harder for everybody.