Not working actively on Cocoon at the moment (busy with my Flash stuff, and a lot of teaching to do between now and April), I’m doing my best to follow what’s happening.
Daniel, Jorg, Reinhard, Carsten and Giacomo (hope I’m not forgetting anyone) are actively working on M10N, the Mavenization of Cocoon, along with the new blocks system.
From what I’ve been able to see in the very limited time that I can allocate to it currently, there are Good Things in the making: a much more modular Cocoon, improved build and distribution process, and much improved management of dependencies. At the moment it’s moving so fast that it’s very hard to follow, but it all looks like things will be simpler ever after.
At the same time, users working at the sitemap level should see very little differences. These guys are basically changing the engine in flight ;-)
I’m a bit frustrated about not being able to help more (and pick those bright guy’s brains in the process…), but that’s life. I might start an important new project with Cocoon around April, if this happens 2.2 would be a serious option to consider.