The discussion got opened up again, but recently the problem was addressed and solved by the rich Joomlasphere of 3rd party developers.
There are now two simple plugins available for 1.5 that allow you to manipulate the page title:
Both seem to work pretty well. With the new and improved default SEF in Joomla 1.5, you could well get by with just one of these simple plugin’s rather than a larger SEF extension.
Are you looking forward to easier SEO and SEF with 1.5?