I tried searching for this, but it's a little hard to find forum posts by date so I don't know what the latest news is on this bug.
A few months ago it was virtually impossible to get the image upload tool to work properly...images would appear in the directory, but then you couldn't get them to appear in folders so you could insert them into your content. (Not talking about hard-coding things into templates, just the usual drag & drop).
I've been away for a while but am looking to get back into SS... has this been fixed?
Yes the SWF issue has been removed in 2.2.2 - It was just nasty and it never worked at all for me. The speed issue as you said is well noted and speed improvements are being done for the next release.
As for the issues upgrading to 2.2.2 with the modules, It does appear that most have some issues as the latest releases for the modules are all quite out of date - released before 2.2.2. The best thing I can recommend is you try the trunk / latest daily build versions of each of the modules as these are more likely to work with 2.2.2