Blender 2.57 is coming.
And with it comes the light at the end of the tunnel for Blender 2.5x development. It has been announced on the developers mailing list that 2.57 will be considered the first 'stable' release.
The release is supposed to happen around the end of March, and already plans are being set in motion. Python has been updated from 3.1 to 3.2, the newest release. Although it has been causing some pain for linux developers, because 3.2 is not yet packaged for their releases, for the most part the change has gone off without a hitch.2.57 will be a final release. The first stable one of the 2.5 series.
The other exiting development is the splash screen competition, which hasn't been seen recently because all of the splash screens have come from Sintel. This is the first splash screen for the 2.5x series that will be from the community. You can visit the thread for submissions here on BlenderArtists and you can see some of my favourites after the break.
All of these are done by wo262:
This one is by sick:
I'm sure there will be many more than the 11 that are there right now by the time the competition ends on March 27th.
I'm looking forward to more bug-fixes, script updates, and TODOs being finished between now and when 2.57 is released, and I'm expecting this to be the best release yet!