Right now we have support in some packages for user patches - those being
patches dropped into /etc/portage/patches/pkgname/ - which are automatically
applied. Because this feature is implemented by epatch_user() in
eutils.eclass, it is only available for ebuilds that inherit eutils and
explicitly call epatch_user or inherit another eclass that calls it in an
exported phase (eg. base). The end result is a very inconsistent experience,
where user patches may or may not work not only on a package-by-package
basis, but ebuild-by-ebuild.
Is there any reason why this couldn't just be done in the package manager,
making user patches available for all ebuilds without code changes?