"Good enough and familiar" is better than "new and better". Ask Internet Explorer.

byuu got caught in the trap of believing what people *said* they wanted from bsnes (filters, add-on chip support) and ended up with a bunch more code to maintain and no particular increase in users.

Similarly, while I think things like having the software lists will make MESS easier to use up front, I don't think it'll have any significant impact on usage. Even if it were merged with MAME the net effect would be that more people would have the code but wouldn't actually use it. MAMEPlus has included MESS drivers forever (and a ton of filters!) and makes them as easy as any other console emulator through it's GUI and nobody uses the MESS drivers there either.

Ultimately you have to be working on emulation because you really enjoy it for itself. If you're in it as a user popularity contest you *will* burn out and quit. That's the real lesson of the parade of would-be MAME killers. FBA survives because Barry's making the emulator he wants to play, and that's what matters.