The search system could be modded on 1.2.* if it was a problem personally.
Well, anything can be modded. Heck, one can even rewrite the full PunBB's code... but if you want to use it, well a lot of people don't have the time and/or the skill to do it well (meaning neat, secure, and then to update to new PunBB version by hand since after some serious rewrite, even the patch util can get lost).
By fulltext, I'm assuming you mean searching for the entire phrase entered rather than splitting the words and searching?
I mean: faster (reallly faster), consuming less server resources, consuming much less database size, with built in ranking system; and more important than everything without the English-centric bug on apostrophe.
Utf-8 I already have, so that ain't on my list of concerns.
I do too, but I'm more and more annoyed by people not having it, and having serious charset issue because of that. Global utf-8 is going to be much quieter.
Atom feed I already have, and it works perfectly well for me. I never wanted granularity down to individual topic level, which is why I never wrote that in. Forums/categories and site are ample. If, however, I ever changed my mind, It'd be a doddle to add that functionality to what I already have.
Well, I like having people writing and full proof testing something for me. Maybe a 1.2 mod add atom feature, but is the mod author going to patch my installed forums to keep them up to date?
Granularity is not a major thing by far, but when one needs it, it's quite nice.
Clean URI, I personally have no use, need nor want for. Btw, doesn't that involve using httpd rewrite rules too, or is the method totally altered in 1.3?
I have use for it, and even if vanilla PunBB is already incredibly well indexed by search bots (and better than any other forum software out there), it will be a nice addition.
And yup of course, it uses Apache's rewrite.
Extension system. Again, couldn't really say as I'm yearning for it. It still has to be written, so it is just an alternative, (and somewhat more practical for someone who doesn't want to do any coding), method.
Extension is really the major one... anything someone wants, in time, in may be able to get it without screwing the core code. Since some mod are really, really ugly, and since security (read: updates) is a major concern to most forums, it's a key feature for a lot of people in my opinion.
Much simpler to install, uninstall, track, edit, at the very very least.
And of course, no more arguing about ?this new incredible feature we all absolutely must have in PunBB? (such as private messaging, aka the worst idea ever).
Honestly, there's nothing there whatsoever that rocks my boat. I'm not saying it's not better, btw, merely that I don't class anything in it as a personal want.
That's good for you, it means PunBB 1.2 is already perfect