I've been abusing my Linux From Scratch install for a little over a year now, and the wear is finally starting to show. The version of GCC used has gone up, the version of GCC used has gone down, there's little bits of GCC scattered everywhere now I think. Just about everything has been compiled too aggresively, and I honestly think my system performance could stand to be better. I'm not sure if I even have a cron daemon any more, and there's more than a handful of binaries stolen from Slackware or someone else strewn around my system. The boot sequence tries to double insert a bunch of different modules and spews forth several screens worth of debug information about my various devices.
Now, while this may sound like the typical setup you would love to wipe out and be rid of, I'm in the rather precarious position of trying to save some of this madness. Currently, I have / /home and /usr all on seperate partitions. I'm using kernel 2.6.10 (stock) and KDE 3.3.2. Also, I'm using Mozilla 1.4 for my e-mail (local copies of e-mails saved), and FireFox 1.0 for the browser.
When I eventually move to Arch (seems very attractive right now for letting me tinker with my source and bootscripts), can anyone suggest ways to make the move painless as possible? Ideally, I would install Arch over my old / partition. Then, after re-establishing users I would then apply Arch's preferences for my .bashrc etc to the matching files in my /home partition, and match the old partition with the new. Then, hopefully, I could do something similar with my /usr partition. Ideally, I'd like to keep all the little tweaks I've done to KDE (like a few shortcuts I've added to kATE).
I guess the basic premise of this rambling question is "Will a simple install of Arch look enough like the source-built defaults for my favourite applications such that transferring my life over won't be an epic struggle?"
During the install, you will be able to use the same partition for your /home. I also recommand keeping a copy of the config files in /etc to help reconfigure the system. To answer you question, Arch use vanilla versions of the applications. Patches are only used for security and if its needed to correct a bug.
Also, you can use ABS to rebuild the packages to your liking.