The mailing list has been really active. There is definitely a BIG correlation between mailing list activity and my motivation towards fixing things. Some of the things Eugene has said have irked me, but in general he's providing a lot of solid observations which (I think) have led to some really great changes.
In the last few weeks, we've:
fixed a couple of bugs
optimized out the get_engine() silliness
whittled down the managers (there's still some more to do)
optimized the get_current_session() routine
optimized the filter_mapper case of hook spamming
made some really awesome changes to the python_cmd that make it far more usable
All good stuff none of which would have happened with a quiet mailing list.