Users should be able to give immediate feedback about problems affecting a software. While they always have the choice of reporting these to the upstream developer, usually per email, the Debian Bug Tracking System (BTS) offers an additional channel for tracking software defects efficiently. The maintainer of a piece of software can investigate whether a particular report is actually valid before upstream developers need to deal with it. Moreover, in many cases the Debian maintainer can suggest or even implement fixes, that are then sent to upstream alongside the bug report, if the problem is not Debian-specific. All problems are made public, and hence the whole community may contribute to solving a particular issue.
In the case of Free Medical Software the upstream projects frequently do not feature a bug tracking system. Thus the inclusion of such software into Debian adds extra value to the respective projects, because users can report issues via the Debian BTS and the maintainer of a package works as a proxy to the software authors. For a user this has the benefit of a consistent bug reporting interface and software authors might get extra technical information provided by the Debian maintainer who generally has decent technical knowledge.
Andreas Tille 2010-12-10