Although it’s only slated for release sometime in May, the first beta of the new WordPress 3.0 is already doing the rounds. Blog Oh Blog has a nice summary of the changes and additions in the new version: most of the updates are fairly innocuous, perhaps the largest mention should go to the integration of WordPress-mu, for setting up multi-user blogs and networks.
However, the announcement that really put the cat amongst the pigeons has been that the core development team may now be promoting what were formally called canonical plugins, now known as core plugins following the unpublished results of a poll in December. It appears that whilst attempting to address a genuine issue, the very idea of having plugins that stand in the limelight with an official stamp of approval has incensed many community plugin developers.
Some really excellent debate has been held which has, amongst other things, revealed that the initial go ahead for core plugins will be very limited; just three plugins, including an old, out-of-date plugin, a chunk hived off from the core, and a newly developed plugin. Nevertheless, the potential for these core plugins to have wide-reaching effects on the plugin development pool, create stagnation in the community and a greater top-down hierarchy is something that in the eyes of many developers and enthusiasts, has not been addressed.