Here we are 5+ years in, and these basic problems still exist.
The problem is Mark doesn’t see the point of doing work in Debian, because if he did, then why should he have created Ubuntu? Mark thinks contributing to Debian makes as much sense as contributing to Red Hat: nice in some ideal world, but not worth investing in. Do you think he talked to Dell or the Amazon cloud folks about supporting Ubuntu and Debian?
Work doesn’t go into Debian, which is bad for Debian,
Or work is done in Debian in which case Ubuntu has little reason to exist.
Update: It looks like the Ubuntu people are going to put their stuff into Debian. That is good to hear. So we’re going from the first scenario to the second — which is an improvement.
Ubuntu is developing more and more software of its own and often Debian
reintegrates the software but later on. I wonder why you are not
integrating new software immediately in Debian:
- you would benefit from the feedback of the debian community sooner
and avoid some packaging churn later on 
- even when you have constraint of integration with other software in
debian and that you’re blocked, you can have a ubuntu-specific packaging
thanks to the dpkg-vendor framework and still share the source package
between both distributions
- you would have some explicit responsibility in maintaining the software
that you create
 I’m referring to http://bugs.debian.org/571929 for desktopcouch, the
initial packaging is sub-optimal and the upstream developers (all
@canonical.com) have been asked for their feedback and insight on the
reasons of some dependencies but they have never responded… this
sucks hard. It would be nice if this small fingerpointing would lead
to someone reacting…