After by last post, I checked to see if the new version of Inkscape was released yet.
It has been! Version 0.46 at http://www.inkscape.org/. I installed Ubuntu Gutsy and checked some of my annoyances, which are...gone! It is not perfect, but it is much better. It remembers file paths better and the Fill and Stroke dialog is now docked in the main program window. Everything I've tried has been a little bit better. Nice job Inkscape crew!