We are making pretty good progress towards a 1.8 beta release. A late breaking forum post revealed some bugs with the sql upgrade script. Once we are done with testing that issue, we should be pretty close to announcing a beta candidate for 1.8.
Overall things are looking pretty good with this release. We do think that having more people download and test the beta will allow us to have a quality final release. We are pleased with the quality of the 1.7 release and would like to make 1.8 even better. We've had approx 500 downloads of the alpha package, and would love to see approx double that number download and test the beta package.
In other news, the Joomla project announce Joomla 1.5 RC1. This means that 1.8 will have support for Joomla 1.5 RCx. Most features in the beta release will work quite nicely with the RC release of Joomla 1.5. We will need to do some more QA and fixing of the things we discover as we do more testing with it. Overall it looks quite solid and has a much cleaner and sharper look than the 1.0 series. We hope to have better integration with Joomla 1.5 in our 2.x series. More on this in a later blog post