Yes, they can be conservative about change. I'm OK with that, usually. The thing that gets me is that the RedHat guys seem to have a habit of ignoring bugs filed against previous releases. So what happens is the bug gets put off during stable and ignored when they rev the version.
For one example: I had a bug report filed way back in 2000 against RedHat's customized versions of useradd,passwd,chsh,etc. Later I saw someone else file a bug for the exact same problem in 2004! No one had fixed it. The bug was still open, filed against RH 7.3. RH 8 and 9 and AS2.1 had come and gone in the meantime.
There was another one against mkinitrd that I remember. I looked at the changelog a couple years later and that problem had been fixed, purely by accident I believe. The bug hadn't been closed.
If only they'd read their Bugzilla from 2001 I bet they'd find a lot of things to fix.