Almost any major distro uses a patched kernel, do you want to say that all of them are slowly diverging from mainline Linux? This is simply bullshit.The kernel used in Ubuntu from what I understand isn't exactly the same with mainline so they are already diverging there.
Even if that would be true (it probably was at the time when Ubuntu was released in 2004), Ubuntu has simply not the manpower to abandon the Debian base, they are relying on Debian, a distribution that revolves about the community. Let Ubuntu try to diverge from Debian, it will dig its own grave with that, Ubuntu totally can not exist without Debian.Debian as it is is not good enough for the user because if it was there would have been no need for Ubuntu.
This does not make any sense at all. Ubuntu can only submit patches upstream, but why should any upstream project care about patches that are only necessary for one distro? If they would submit patches (in the needed quality and quantity, not submitting a wall of code after secretly developing something in-house for months) that benefit the whole project I doubt that the patches would be shunned just because an Ubuntu developer wrote them. But why should they care about Ubuntu specific patches? If Canonical sees the need to divert from the cosdebase it is their own problem to manage the patches.The number of Ubuntu specific patches will only increase and I hope that the community will not shun them just to make their life harder.
I see it the other way around. Canonical needs to realize that shunning the community they rely on will only result in shunning themselves from all the projects that are developed by the community.They need to realize that shunning them will only result in shunning themselves from the desktop of the common user that might try Ubuntu.