I feel very happy today and I think you should feel happy too. Pathauto is a great module that has served millions of visitors to thousands of sites very well over the years. But Pathauto, along with all of Drupal, is getting a little bit better!
Enter Token Module
At the very end of 2006 Jeff Eaton started work on a token module which took the pattern logic out of Pathauto into its own module (and extended it a bit further). All those little strings of text like [title] and [cat] and [user] which Pathauto uses were all placed into a separate API. This provides two great benefits - first, it makes them available to other modules such as the custom breadcrumb, autonodetitle and other modules. Second, I instantly recognized the personal benefits from this decision because the token parsing part of Pathauto was the source of most of the bugs. I thought that if I outsourced the patterns I'd also outsource the bugfixing! In the end I'm now a co-maintainer of the token.module providing some bug fixes, features, design reviews for the module. At least I have a partner in crime on the issue and at least the work can benefit all of Drupal instead of just Pathauto users.
Call to module developers
This call is two fold:
First, to modules that implement pathauto hooks: now's the time to start implementing the token hooks. This will open up your module to interaction with a much broader set of modules and is a much better long term solution than the Pathauto hooks. To learn more about token or discuss it's use, join the tokens group on groups.drupal.org.