At this time UP stream is the biggest problem and only way to find out is to test it in beta pre release or live and there is not enough guy's for beta testing or diverse enough hardware during testing to cover all possible problems. Stuff happens.
Possibly having a beta release same as 4.0 beta 1/2/3 might be a solution.
The word gentoo makes most people / linux users tremble as genfool mentioned and then the change from using other linux distro's and the old tech they use to ours is a leap of faith and takes a bit of time to get used too.
Win users changing might find it easier to go directly into SL dual boot or SL only install, learn once use many times and they will not go to other non gentoo distro's likely.
It is not just slightly different commands but /etc/rc.d/rc1 versus /etc/rc.conf this gets a few guy's.
The first 3 weeks is the critical time that can make or break a new users into any distro on any hardware. Once you are past this there is no looking back, you are either using SL or not after this time.
We can only do more exposure if you have a alternative method for new users to test before using, that is why I sometimes suggest vmware / virtualbox just to get the hang and then once ready dive into SL installed for new and skilled users.
It is also very difficult to say to someone here is 60mins to 8 hours dvd / small dvd download and then you can live cd /dvd it and test then the ati drivers or wpa or similar / lack of mc causes a few problems or all of them together. Not everyone can fix this easily.
For this reason I keep on hammering on about a cd / 700mb / 350mb version as base or stablelized ~x86 and then users can go from there and do their own thing or jump to the dvd / small dvd and have this as a more unstable beta testing version for the more advanced users. DO we really need 300mb of office or can we just use a small word processing program and after install download and customize to latest versions of what we might need ?
Alternatively we might be able to create a live cd that is like a demo that can not really be used for much except it runs thru what SL can do using the new users own hardware showing of compiz type desktop bling using generic ati or nvidia drivers that we know is stable / less problems. It can even download and run fixes to optimize this experience / use this fixed to install to hd.
IE: 700mb cd or 350mb cd + rest of 700mb can be used for this / compiz bling demo ??
The time and logistics in this can be a major problem so might as well skip and do a cd only and for advanced users get the dvd or alternatively "cd image + bin packages expansion image on a dvd" for custom SL build where the packages images can be xdelta'd to include fixes / alternative software to broken software ???
This way the new user can test and play then get serious about SL and the base / cd has limited packages that can only have a few problems = easier to fix than big brother dvd and thousands of packages / thousands of possible problems.
With a demo cd like this I can say to a lot of people there download and run or .exe containing win virtualbox + what is needed to extract and run without any config for novice users. If you like give me a shout and we can get it installed and we know it works on his / her hardware / stable ~x86 or x86 .
Imagine if for a accountant in another town you can say just click this link in windows and let it run and later we can do this for real if you like = no skill or expertise needed. = More user switching. A accountant will always ask about linux accounting software LOL.
This is what it boils down to and my frustrations.
4.1 gnome and 4.1 kde dvd's, a donor persons can not even pop in the live dvd on a Imac 20" core extreme Ati 2/3600 pro HD, dvd that I shipped to them to show what we are about at this stage because of upstream problems. Show a working example and we can donate / fund your project = my hands are tied.
minm. 10% of $400 000 could have been ours with more later if I could have done this, Loosing $400 000 on a bad California deal or donating it = same to us as donors.
Same with the 2 servers "8 cpu quad core Amd Tyan in each server" I could get as donations. Show and we donate.
We should be able to get much more unskilled persons or new other linux distro users to use SL same as the Peurto Rico university guy = it works we can used and modify if not = no go SL.
Yes I understand the issues around most of this ideas and time involved.