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> I'll continue asking stupid questions, then.  Like, under this system how
> can either you or the port maintainers maintain a good representation of
> how far out of sync they are with the main tree?

diff and read the output.

[bizzare sociopolitical mumble deleted]

> well, though. One is the kind I'm bumping into right now, where
> somebody legitimately needs to make small (almost trivial) changes
> scattered all through the tree.

Yep. But such changes are rare. Or should be.

> Another is the case where a piece of code that needs to be changed doesn't
> have an active maintainer for a third party like me to go to.
> What's the neighborly way to deal with these?

If I get patches for stuff that doesnt seem to have a maintainer I apply them.
On the odd occasion a scream is heard in the distance it means I now know
there is an active maintainer.

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