Since Blender 2.55 over 400 bugs have been fixed in Blender, which has brought a lot of stability to Blender, not to mention that (as of writing this post) there are only 48 bugs listed! Now that most of the bugs are fixed many developers can focus on some of their todo list, and it also gives external branches (such as Bmesh) a chance to more easily add to their projects, without worrying about bugs that will block their work. I even found and fixed a (rather small) bug.
Over in bf-extensions, I myself have been helping out a little trying to get scripts organized and finalizing what will go into release and what will stay out. Besides organizational and documentary stuff (like writing up the change log on scripts for 2.56) I have also been working on the Dynamic Spacebar Menu addon, fixing up some stuff and adding some more features. Although most of the changes didn't make it into 2.56, they did all make it into 2.56a so make sure you download that release!
So with the new year, things are starting to look up for Blender. We can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and a tentative release date for Blender 2.6 is around the summer time of this year (note: very tentative!). The next Blender version (2.57) is supposed to be a release candidate meaning that Blender will very soon be out of beta:
"Meeting also agrees to publish Release Candidates again for next (2.57) version, especially when that's the first "out of beta" release :)" (From the bf-commiters mailing list)Happy Developing in 2011