Here's my ideas on the current plans and roadmap:
We are currently preparing the first official (non-beta) 2.5x release,numbered as 2.57. This might be released early April. Worque will then continue 2 months on wrapping up the crucial 2.5 targets, resulting in a May/June final release (2.5
- New development: 2.6x
In April/May we can review with all branch/patch developers status of their work, and make a migration schedule for all new features. This includes projects like GI rendering (Sintel), new Mesh editing, paint/sculpt improvements, Rigid Body Physics, new Curve/Nurbs system. Combining this with a redesign of shader/light system, Open CL compositing, a possible VFX based Open Movie, and all the new Google Summer code projects... it'll become a massive amount of upgrades again.
Proposal is to do this in a series of small steps; with stablest branches first. We can call it the "2.6 series" resulting in a number of releases named 2.60, 2.61, 2.62 and so on. Each release will be mostly stable, but include new functionality to be tested as well. UI and general design specifications for Blender will remain on 2.5 compatible level.
A related target or Blender remains to keep improving apis or modules, to enable larger groups of developers to worque in parallel on projects.
- Long-long term
We should keep doing these upgrades for as long as needed, and - similar to during the 2.4 period - separate out the really big issues to solve in a bigger project again, like a Blender 3.0 project, which could be something for 2015 or later even!
We've been in some kind of "freeze" long enough now. Let's have fun for a while, and then try to fix it all up again