I needed a tikz keyword that was missing. But I coded around that, and the paper is now finished. So my need is not imminent anymore.
50-100 hrs is a lot. The few messages I found in debian-tex-maint in August on TL2011 seemed to indicate that some work still remains to make the packages hold together. Missing texmf.cnf, yikes! But as you say, there is nothing to test, even. (And for myself, I am hesitant to subscribe to that bugtracking mailinglist)