Fred> It feels like the release cycle from alpha1 to final has gotten Fred> increasingly rushed.
Same here. I believe there was some shortening of the 2.5 release cycle two or three months ago. I don't recall why or by how much, but I think the acceleration has resulted in a lot of the "can't we please squeeze this one little change in?" that's been happening. Shortening a micro release a bit seems reasonably easy to accommodate, but since minor releases occur so infrequently, I think it would be better to stretch them out if necessary.