Thanks for your response and for giving me those suggestions and guidance. All of what you said was very helpful. Last night I got to the "Congratulations!" screen, and then stayed up too late looking around the out-of-the-box site package. Feeling the freedom to let some things be not-quite-resolved -- such as putting AOLserver in daemontools and getting qmail and nsopenssl fully working -- was helpful to me, so that I didn't get bogged down but pressed ahead.
Since CVS is an important element of a production site, and since you can shoot yourself in the foot, as you say, by not including it, I would suggest that having the "quick install" use CVS should be the default, installing CVS on the system if it's not already there. Since the other things can all be added later, it would be simpler (less daunting) for the new folks not to have to wade through those things in the initial install document.
Speaking of the out-of-the-box package, it is really very impressive. Lars mentioned that, currently, many people might not get to that point and turn away before seeing it. That, when it happens, is really unfortunate, because what you get out-of-the-box is so much more than what you get with other, similar packages -- more professional, more "industrial strength," and more transparent. Having such a powerful system as this be so transparent in its architecture is almost unnerving, as compared for instance with Zope which (in my experience) seems to obfuscate the simple. If people would have the opportunity to see what OpenACS is all about, I think it would really take off in its popularity. There are a lot of people willing to spend an hour to find out, but not ten hours. If a couple of journalists were to spend that hour and have good results, no doubt some buzz would begin to build.
More thoughts from a beginner,