Ratpoison is Dead, Long Live StumpWM
This is definitely of those "Why did I wait so long?" moments. I've been using ratpoison for quite a while. From time to time I would research other keyboard-driven, tiling window managers so I'd heard of and evaluated StumpWM before. Somehow I'd missed that it was intended as the successor to ratpoison. Doh!
At any rate, thanks to a Planet Emacsen blog post I decided to give it a try. It's a clear win for me. Better group manaagement, key binding system, and plays nicely with the Gnome/Unity-2D panel when I need it. It's all around more modern and less of a fight with modern desktops like Gnome/Unity-2D. I don't think I'll be going back as long as the instability everyone mentions is manageable.