The document I pointed at is still valid, so yes, moving off OnDemand is your only option. Several Atlassian partners do less restrictive hosting (Appfusions, Contegix to name a couple) if you still don't want to do it yourself.
Atlassian are looking at broadening the list of plugins they install and support, and letting people do their own stuff (expect something summer 2013, but that's only a rumour based on a blog from a while ago, so I don't know how up-to-date it is).
If you move off OnDemand, you can use Markdown in Confluence. You have a choice of add-ons too:
Answers doesn't really feed in to Atlassian's processes on feature requests. They DO take ideas from here and log them in their Jira (on the rare occaision that the questioners don't beat them to it!), but I'm afraid comments here carry no weight.
for the issues that do carry some weight...
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