As I already wrote too many times, I've started to use Gnus 6 months ago, and never looked back.
At that time, I joined the ding mailing list in order to ask some dumb questions and, once, send a patch. There were very low activity on that list.
Until Lars, the original Gnus author, came back.
Three weeks ago, he started to wrote a new wash function to render HTML mails properly, with pictures. It's named `gnus-html', and is (for now) based on w3m (but not on emacs-w3m, which is not part of Emacs).
Last week, I've sent a set of patches to replace the usage of curl by the standard `url-retrieve' function to fetch images, plus various enhancement. It seems that my work was good enough that Lars offered me write access to the git repository. I can therefore mess up the Gnus entirely. Hurrah!
I've continued to work on gnus-html and recently merged a set of patches improving image retrieval (which is now done in parallel) and starting to use `url-cache' to cache image for a defined period of time. Of course, I found a bunch of tiny bug and special case while reading RSS feeds and various HTML mails, and fixed them all along.
Lars added a libxml binding for Emacs 24, providing the `html-parse-string' function. His future plan seems to be the abandon of w3m in favor of a native parsing via libxml to render HTML, and therefore, HTML mails.
I should also mention the new `nnimap' back-end; Gnus has been designed to read NNTP newsgroups, and not mails. Consequently, it had a very poor behaviour when used with a back-end such has (IMAP)[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Message_Access_Protocol].
Lars took a week to rewrite entirely our dear `nnimap' back-end, and make it act in a more expected way. There's still a bunch of bug and code to write, but it is at least usable and seems faster than the old code.
Last thing I did was to rewrite the icon support in the group buffer. When I started to use Gnus, I was curious and tried to configure this. I never managed to make it work, and now know and understand why it was broken. So I ended rewriting entirely, and now it works. I never though I would understand, fix, and commit this code when reading the Gnus documentation this winter, but hell yeah, I did.
Now I've still several little project to improve things in all sort of area. We'll see what I'll do next. :-)