Yeah, least we can say is that it's been slow at SMF since 2009 or 2010... When I left SMF, they were at around rev 10069. Right now they're around rev 10600 or 10700 and 90% of these revs were for minor bug fixes. We made close to a thousand commits in the same time, with a good half being solid commits. It's just as you say -- SMF needs 'dedicated' developers, and they're not dedicated.
At first I thought it was because of the 'feature-frozen' rule. But now... Well, it's been over 2 months since SMF was released, and absolutely no new features were added to the SVN. I'm actually way more surprised by this, than by the RC-time lack of activity. It's like they're expecting the forks to do their work, and then they'll take the best BSD fork and make it their new codebase... :^^;: (Please make it Nightwish's, pretty please! ::) Although his code needs to be cleaned up, he can obviously work steadily and actually implement new things that matter.)
Anyway -- I was thinking that maybe Wedge was what SMF was in the beginning: a group of dedicated talented people with a vision and goals in mind, sharing similar ideas about the whole project in a way that it doesn't systematically create tension. What we need to be careful about, is that one of us (either Pete or I) stay onboard as long as possible (ideally the both of us) to oversee development, even if we don't participate in the actual coding any more. I think what killed SMF was that the entire original team had left at some point.