It seems there has been a lot of improvement with SDL lately, and that it is nearing its next major release. Here's an announcement made by Sam Lantinga recently:

SDL 1.3 is ready for a massive bug hunt!
http://www.libsdl.org/tmp/SDL-1.3.zip
or
http://www.libsdl.org/tmp/SDL-1.3.tar.gz

The first person to report any particular bug for SDL 1.3 in bugzilla (http://bugzilla.libsdl.org) will get their names added to the CREDITS list for the great SDL Bug Hunt of January 2009!

Anyone who contributes an SDL 1.3 bug fix which is accepted, regardless of whether they reported it, will have their names added to the CREDITS list as bug squashers in the great SDL Bug Hunt. The top three squashers will be featured on the SDL website with a link to their favorite project (if they want.)

When contributing a patch, please include permission for me to release your code with SDL 1.3 and future versions of SDL under both the LGPL and a closed-source commercial license.

Contributors to SDL 1.3 are eligible for a discount on commercial licensing. Please contact me for details if you're interested.

See ya!
-Sam Lantinga, Founder and President, Galaxy Gameworks LLC
As such, after the official release all tutorials will get a makeover to reflect the changes in 1.3. Until then, I encourage everyone to continue to use SDL 1.2.x. Also, anyone interested in Commercial Games with SDL, should pay attention to this site now (http://galaxygameworks.com/). You're still free to use the library as long as you dynamically link the library, but for static links, you need a commercial license now. One incentive to get a license is official iPhone/iPod support now.