If it's going to take more than a year to upstream your stuff, you can't deploy it in the distro first. Otherwise you have absolutely no incentive to do whatever it takes to get upstream acceptance of all of your changes, and it's just going to languish and cause insane amounts of pain for any upstream maintainer who wants to get work done on your system.
In my mind,
improvement means change but change is not always improvement.
-- Roy Bamford
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