This is an official release. One that is well overdue, in fact. There are around 200 bugs fixed in this release. Never before have we held back so many fixes from customers for so long.
‘Real releases that stick for while’ is a nice concept. I can think of only one way to achieve that. We stop fixing bugs and implementing new features. This can be arranged.
Alternately, there are 18 feature requests on the assigned pile, and 105 requests on the later pile waiting to be implemented. I expect we will be opening GEMS 1.19 in the foreseeable future as the bleeding-edge branch, and allow 1.18 to go into maintenance mode. GEMS 2.0, with the really radical changes, will probably not be far behind.
You make a very good point here. There are times we will need to release things for customers which do not choose to wait for ITA approval, but we want to move toward a system where we do a pre-release for certification purposes and then have a real release which sticks for a while. Today's system of doing a release and then having to do 2 or 3 more during the certification process causes a lot of confusion. Sometimes this is a necessary evil, but not always. We will try to start with pre-releases whenever possible.