Notes from a conversation with Jorge Castro about this bug:
This is about the patches in the debian/patches directory of a package in a given distribution -- that's what is meant by "the patches a distribution is carrying". Note that's *not* the same as patches attached to bugs that are bugtask-linked to that package.
(This was probably already clear to Bryce and James, but not to everyone!)
Since we already show a +patches report for source packages, and it currently reports patches attached to bugs rather than patches actually included in the source package, we need to come up with a UI to also show patches being shipped in the source package. Note that these two sets of patches can overlap, which makes finding the right UI tricky.
Jorge says if he had a choice, this would be the highest triaged bug in story-patch-report right now. For example, we're supporting Lucid for 18 months. If we get a bug report about something in there, he wants to be able to see very easily what patches we're already carrying for Lucid. However, he understands that it won't makeit for the 10.02 cycle.
Steve Langashek points out that patches sent upstream will soon have http://dep.debian.net/deps/dep3/ patch tagging metadata in them -- both Debian and Ubuntu are going to follow those conventions. If some of the patches shipped with a package include that metadata, is there anything we can do with it in Launchpad? (What is Debian doing with it?)