It's a shame the Suffusion author decided not to take this request seriously and cannot see the value.
You already have 3 plugins mentioned on this thread to do the task and each person suggesting a plugin says it works fine. And it is a shame that I am not taking this request seriously? It is not like there is a paucity of options. And I do believe I spoke about the cumbersomeness of providing such a feature through options - you are right, I don't see any value in pouring hours of development into this.
There is an underlying philosophy behind addition of features in the theme. If you look carefully through how features are added, they are added by concept and not by scouring plugins to see which I can replace. E.g.:
- I provided a magazine template, so I started off with a featured content option (later a widget), a category posts option (later a widget), a headlines option etc. - basics you need to make things look like a magazine layout. You wouldn't find a separate plugin for a magazine layout, hence I had to build all of these features into the theme.
- I tackled various aspects of modifying your sidebar's look and feel - boxes, movable boxes, flattened, sliding panels, tabbed etc. Again, these are extremely theme-specific and have little to do with plugins. Plus different options to position your sidebars are available - again non-plugin behavior.
- I provided different layout types, blog, list and tile: again something that is not normally available through plugins.
- Every now and then I add a set of very useful short-codes, which again, plugins don't provide.
I could continue about the list of features I have built in that cannot
be accomplished by plugins. In comparison there are very few features that are exclusively built with a plugin-flavor: a Google Translator widget, a Twitter widget, a subscription widget, basic analytics support (which Analyticator thumps, moreover I didn't know about Analyticator when I built this in), basic SEO support (SEO is not complex, hence this is almost on par with All-in-one SEO) and theme optimization support (again, something that Total Cache etc thump).
The point I am trying to make is that unless a feature is critical for the functioning of the theme or for building/enhancing a concept within the theme I don't try to sweat over it. There are several plugin-like things I can think of from the theme's perspective - ordering of posts/categories/links, ability to control which page widgets should appear in, specific widgets for AdSense etc, which might make the theme look cool (and are probably a lot more useful than the AdSense targeting), but will only make me age rapidly if I have to implement and support them. Hence I leave a lot of these to existing well-proven plugins (apart from the AdSense widget, which can be implemented in a simple Text widget).
Instead I tend to focus more on theme-centric features, like different layout options, different templates, different widget capabilities etc. The point you are missing is that every feature I provide needs a ton of options to go with it. Even the 404 page can be configured. And even then it is not adequate for persnickety users. Just sample this - the number of lines of code in the theme is a whopping 30,000 and the theme has well over 400 options, yet the feature requests section of the forum is overflowing. Adding certain features is easy, but adding others is quite taxing. And this particular one falls squarely in the taxing bucket.
I have personally never been a fan of ad-supported blogs (it is something I have mentioned in passing several times), which is why apart from a small AdSense short code that I built for fun several months ago I haven't even tried touching any other aspect of AdSense. Since I don't like ad-supported blogs myself (none of the 5 domains I own runs ads and I have ad-blocking plugins installed wherever possible), I don't feel obligated to go overboard with AdSense support. Mind you, people still use the theme in droves, so obviously this is not a crippling deficiency.
Lastly please don't forget that the theme is free, while I bet that with a bit of polish I could probably charge $100 for it and a good number of people would still pay. If I were to force each of my users to pay even $20 for it (or pay a mandatory amount for support) I would still end up with a big bank balance in at least high 6 figures if not 7 figures. However I do none of these things just to retain the ability to opt-out: by not charging a user for anything and by not expecting anything only I retain the prerogative to say that I won't implement a feature (though I have busted my gut trying to provide a lot of features). Please respect this and refrain from making statements about what is a shame and what is not.
And apologies for my outburst in my previous response.