In that model, the "operating system" (kernel, libc, networkmanager, X, desktop) is getting regular releases in unison and all the other packages - the apps - are on their own schedule(s). This would allow testability, upgradability and other nice things for the core system while not holding back anyone that wants to run the latest libreoffice or Firefox.
A second thing very useful for this approach is flattening the dependency graph. Instead of thousands of components, you get an "Operating System" package, one package per program (potentially shipping its own dependencies) and very little else. Again, this reduces the complexity of the system (foo only breaks if bar is installed and at least version 1.12 but baz isn't installed) and adds a bunch of nice benefits.
Of course, that approach is totally not about choice. And we all know that distros don't succeed if you can't rebuild them on a FreeBSD kernel with an Android libc.
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