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question about unmaintained packages

Hello all,

I'm new to this list so please bear with me, as I suppose this
question has already been asked (possibly many times) :

what happens when a package maintainer does not seem to maintain
his/her packages anymore ?

Do the packages remain in a possibly broken state for an undefined
amount of time ?

Are they re-assigned to another DD ?

Is there any automated process that checks how long a bug has been open
in the BTS ? I've come across bugs that are almost four years old ..

I have lately submitted a bug report, sent an e-mail to the package
maintainer, and am ready
to submit a patch for the bug I've spotted, but there has been no
acknowledgment so
far from the maintainer, so I'm at a loss what to do next ..

can anybody shed some light on this ?


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