I've always been disappointed by the number of free software users that just installed the proprietary plugin and declared the problem solved. The small userbase of gnash and then lightspark has greatly limited the developer base and thus speed of progress.
I know it's always been easier, but the free software ecosystem isn't always about doing what's easiest. Dogfooding matters.
Yes it's true that I've never sent any patches either (I have no clue how any of this stuff works), but I have at least reported some bugs, and donated to gnash. A few thousand more people doing that for that last 4 years or so would (probably) have helped a great deal. I can't help but feel that we have collectively failed to deal well with this issue.