The whole point was that developers influence the choice of distro on the server
There must be cases where this is true. However, it's really unclear to me why most developers would care and why they would feel themselves qualified if they have competent sysadmins to work with.
When I've got my sysadmin hat on, most of the developers I work with are developing on Macs. They have no hangups about their code being deployed on EL systems in a big data center. Nobody is clamoring for a shelf full of MacPro tubes to deploy on.
When I've got my developer hat on, I usually write on a Fedora machine. But I'm not daft enough to try to run Fedora on a server and have to worry about the maintenance cycle. I put my configs in a puppet module that pushes the code out to whichever VM I'm going to run it on, regardless of the OS, hypervisor, hardware, or country that code is bound for.
If my code doesn't run on a particular distro, then my code is probably broken (or my devops is hosed).
Maybe there are some startups with a bunch of kids and one third-careeer CEO and they all tell him what's going to happen. Good for them, I guess. Someday a sysadmin might come in and help them fix their stack. Let's not speak of the failwhale.