I imagine that people find the huge polpyaudio and libgnomesu threads on GNOME's desktop-devel-list a bit daunting, but I think they are wonderful. People are clarifying user and technical requirements, and taking us closer to more things just working.
I feel that the libgnomesu situation is similar to the project-utopia situation (getting removable devices to just work). It too can be solved by making a real list of desired functionality and behaviour, attacking it with various technical problems and real-life use cases, and then biting the bullet and changing stuff where it needs to be changed. It might take a few more iterations to get to that level of consensus though.
This is not my area of expertise, but I hope that we don't try to solve this by just not requiring root for everything. I've always liked that no mail-client or browser security bug can destroy my entire Linux system like it can destroy a Windows system.
And I have to learn what this sudo thing is all about, by trying Ubuntu. But I don't want to wipe out my debian partition before freedestop is back up again, so I can build my GNOME development stuff there too.