We've coped ok so far. We do have a lot of customers who have upgraded already, of course. Plus the process is mostly the same as it was, again, for 1.5, 1.4, 1.3, 1.2, 1.1...
Yeah, fair enough. Although I imagine they'd get more use if they were in a more prominent position. They just seem so lonely all tiny hidden away in the deep dark depths of the footer. If it was more exposed you might get more people willing to contribute.
I kind of miss having the help icon in the menu too, IIRC it used to be there in 1.x, but somewhere along the line it was removed. It can be really useful to members to have easy access to a comprehensive help section, now it requires template edits if you just want a small icon similar to this.