Federico, you might be learning the wrong lesson from this story, or possibly seeing only the Nail du Jour?
You don’t need a distributed revision control system to do the right thing by the communities who power your products.
If Novell had done this work upstream in the first place, it would have saved everyone a lot of time, effort and community patience — including Novell.
Update: Despite already receiving a correction from Matthias, Federico implies that the gnome-panel changes were made after intlclock. Sadly, the gnome-panel changes were made before anyone in the community had access to intlclock at all. It’s unfortunate that we found out about such a worthy change to the basic GNOME desktop experience by finding it in a SuSE screenshot.