|Shovelware is the opposite of debian-policy: throwing in as much software as possible into packages without much regard for how it all fits together into a useful system.
And I’ve yet to see you field my comment about the lack of frontends (ie the fact that its all commandline); for some reason you left that out. That was my biggest problem with mdk when I tried it.
And, as for stock kernels, fine, stock kernels are good but what if you want to make your own ones? make-kpkg’s your best friend there. Ideally though, what Deb ought to do is to make a stock kernel that’s as modular as possible, just including cramfs or something for an initrd. That should be paired with an enhanced modconf which (a) integrates with modutils and devfsd making it automatically probe the drivers as needed (autoprobing everything at start can be a bit of a waste of time) and (b) automatically updates your initrd. Add a database of lspci outputs to module names and you’d have one bitchin kernel management system. Maybe I ought to write something like this for whatever’s gonna come after Woody =)