There are a couple of announcements to make that will effect both the BuddyPress project, and the WordPress MU project.

Over 300 commits and almost 200 bugs have been reported, confirmed and fixed since beta one versions of the BuddyPress plugins were released on December 15, 2008. Tomorrow the final versions are due, however instead of the final, release candidate versions of all plugins will be made available for download.

We don’t expect there to be any major changes between these release candidates and the final versions. We’re holding off on releasing the final versions for one specific reason, which brings me to the second announcement.

As it stands, site-wide plugin support in WordPress MU is fairly limited. You cannot activate or deactivate plugins, nor can you hook into the new automatic upgrade features introduced in version 2.7.

Over the next few weeks there will be work done to add integrated support for site-wide plugins in WordPress MU. Site-wide plugin support will provide the ability for plugins to be activated and deactivated site-wide via the administration panel. More importantly however, they will be able hook into the automatic upgrade features.

Once this feature is in place you will be able to download, install and update BuddyPress through your WordPress MU site administration panel. Having the ability to do this will greatly reduce the inconvenience of point release upgrades, which are an inevitable part of new product releases.

Tomorrow the download links for the release candidate will be posted on the downloads page. We’ll be putting the final version out as soon as site-wide plugin support in WordPress MU is completed.

Update: The download links for RC-1 are now live.