That could still happen.
Seriously, your perception that the rate of development is increasing recently is normal for projects like these. Maybe 70% of the hard work has to be done (writing many thousands of lines of new code) before you start to see anything that looks remotely like a finished product, then there's a period where every bug fix makes a new important app run well and makes the drivers "real" for another group of users.
The real problem is that the rapid pace near the end (or at least the perception of same) gets accepted as the norm, so on the *next* project you see huge optimism from users at first, followed by disappointment, despair, personal attacks on the developers, then finally another round of "gee look how fast things are progressing, isn't open source wonderful ?".