He doesn't look like his fingers would be any smaller than mine, but I have tried to use a netbook and failed. I just ordered myself a new laptop primarily because I didn't like the keyboard on my ultrabook. Joey, I am humbled by you.
1 - http://www.logstash.net/
2 - http://kibana.org/
Oddly, RCS is about the only VCS not supported by etckeeper yet. (Well, and CVS and svn). It'd be pretty easy to write the 8 or so scripts needed to add support for it to etckeeper.
I've contemplated writing something like this myself many times, but time is just not something I have a lot of these days.
"git-annex allows managing files with git, without checking the file contents into git. While that may seem paradoxical, it is useful when dealing with files larger than git can currently easily handle, whether due to limitations in memory, time, or disk space.
git-annex is designed for git users who love the command line. For everyone else, the git-annex assistant turns git-annex into an easy to use folder synchroniser."
The only joeyh project that I use more than git-annex or etckeeper is moreutils. (Obviously I'm not including joey's enormous contributions to Debian) Included in moreutils:
chronic: runs a command quietly unless it fails
combine: combine the lines in two files using boolean operations
ifdata: get network interface info without parsing ifconfig output
ifne: run a program if the standard input is not empty
isutf8: check if a file or standard input is utf-8
lckdo: execute a program with a lock held
mispipe: pipe two commands, returning the exit status of the first
parallel: run multiple jobs at once
pee: tee standard input to pipes
sponge: soak up standard input and write to a file
ts: timestamp standard input
vidir: edit a directory in your text editor
vipe: insert a text editor into a pipe
zrun: automatically uncompress arguments to command
For something like professionally administered servers accessible only via ssh asymmetric keys, /etc/shadow may not be considered so sensitive that it's worth the risk of having it be an exceptional cases in version control.