> Any progress on this? Anything I can do?
You know the answer - provide a patch? ;-)
> As a first step, it would be nice to have an import/export
> option that leaves pdf's (and other imported vector objects)
> alone, only allowing aspect-ratio-locked scaling.
Inkscape is not a PDF editor: AFAIU it needs to convert the contents of PDF files (or other vector formats) into an SVG structure to render it on-canvas. Do you want an 'embed' or 'render frame' feature for PDF (without allowing to edit the contents of the PDF)? IMHO not related to the feature request here (add option to import text as path).
> Is it worth writing a blueprint for this?
Blueprint about your proposal or about the option to import text as path (this bug)? If you have more details other than summarizing what is already in this report, go ahead and write one ;-). Otherwise I don't see how it would help to change the current situation (mainly the lack of developers willing or able to address the issue).
About the requested feature (import text as path):
As a workaround, you can use Ghostscript to convert text in a PDF (or EPS/PS) file to outlines. It requires to convert the PDF to an intermediary PS file, and then back to PDF (thus losing PDF features not supported by PostScript, like transparency).
E.g. use a shell script, containing a command similar to this one:
gs -sDEVICE=pswrite -dNOCACHE -sOutputFile=- -q -dbatch -dNOPAUSE -dQUIET "$1" -c quit | ps2pdf - "`echo $1 | cut -f1 -d'.'`"-nofont.pdf
Better than text as path would be to have support for embedded fonts, i.e. convert the fonts embedded in the PDF or PS file to SVG fonts on import. This would require Inkscape to support rendering of SVG fonts (at the moment, it only can create but not use SVG fonts).