udo, thanks for your comments.
I have a couple of points to make:
Obviously the Arduino team does not intend to fix this at any time in the near future. This is something I definitely do not like.
where did you read this? We definitely want to fix it at some point but the current layout works for a lot of people and there are other issues we want to take care of.
Some decision in the arduino project are take without following "standard engineering practice" for example I always found the double row of pins to be very very ugly and it confuses beginners.
The same goes for the atmega8u2 in our mind that is a replacement of the FTDI chip that can do more and it's more open source. two very important goals for us. Connecting the other pins to some pads or connector would have made the board incredibly more complex while we worked hard to gain more "empty space" on it.
Again this to make the board less intimidating.
Current "professional" development systems for microcontrollers have gazillions of pins, connectors, switches, ports, buttons, LEDs and more just because they might be useful one day. this logic works well in the engineering world but in a world of people who see their first microcontroller of their life "less is more" works well.
There is now a chance to rething the standard arduino layout.
Manufacturers make less and less DIP processors available and even when they have them in their catalogue the delivey times are very very long. on the other hand some very exciting parts are available only in 3.3v (or less)
I think if we ever produce a 3.3v Arduino board we would have to change the layout so that people understand that things are different and the current shields (wired for 5v) can't be fitted.
it's a longer discussion but there is an opportunity for innovation there, always keeping things very simple