I would say its a himalayan difference between those two versions of Pilot-link. 0.12.x has nice new, more managed data structures, improved performance, robust error-handling and reporting and supports recent versions of palm-devices. However, 0.11.8 wasn't a bad one though. :-)
Started porting gnome-pilot to use 0.12.x as well as 0.11.8 by writing some wrappers for the APIs that are changed in 0.12.x. The device gets connected but doesn't sync. :(
Nevermind, watch this space for more updates on my encounters with gnome-pilot with latest pilot-link.