If one of the BSDs wanted to fix their TTY code, they would coordinate the changes in the kernel, core userland, and ports. This allows you to change existing bad behavior with minimal risk of breakage, since users are encouraged to upgrade their entire operating system (kernel, userland, and ports) at the same time.
Perhaps there should be a "reference implementation" of a complete GNU/Linux operating system that that is blessed by both Richard Stallman and Linus Torvalds, and where extra effort is made to ensure that all the pieces work together. Existing distributions would be free to fork this implementation and add their own differentiating features, like Ubuntu forks Debian every six months and polishes it up for desktop users.
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