Of course the things that needed to be fixed weren't. We still can't fully edit particle systems, there is still no render api, and no hint of volumetrics. Blender, "immensely popular" and frustratingly limited.
Troll. How much are you involved with this project, and are you a user at all? I guess no, since calling Blender "frustratingly limited" is ignorant, unless this is your thought on all software, commercial and OSS alike. Sure it would be "nice" with more features and fundamental fixes, but as stated, 2.49 was not planned as a release before 2.50. The few core developers have their hands full as it is, so dissing this release is a fat finger in the face of all who work in their spare time.
If you want to help instead of bitch, make your wishes more realistic by donating to the particle guy: http://jahkaparticles.blogspot.com/
If you want to test the volumetric rendering, you are free to download the "sim_physics" SVN branch, or get it from http://www.graphicall.org
The Render-API is a beast all in it self which has to wait until 2.50 is done. If that is too much for you, buy an alternative. Either way please have some respect for the huge work the Blender devs are doing.
Will it be possible to include Blender in PTS? Blender is an important part of our pipeline at work. I hear a lot of negative reports from ATI users working with Blender. If PTS could shed some light on these problems, hopefully ATI will address them and ultimately optimize their drivers (closed and open) for Blender and content creation in general, instead of Compiz and gaming under Wine :P
Only reason I ask is because I'll soon buy an AMD/ATI system for evaluation, despite threads like this: http://www.phoronix.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16644
Its rather obvious that you have no experience with any 3D package other than Blender otherwise you wouldn't have resorted to an ignorant attack against someone who probably has more lines of code in Blender than you. But hey, it is always easier to call names in a reactionary fashion than to examine the issues raised in a post.
Also if you are using the game engine you should wait until 2.49a to avoid some memory leaks.
I worked with Maya for ~5 years, 2 of those in production. Since I primarily work with compositing now, Blender suits our need for 3D perfectly (no, we don't use Blender for VFX compositing... yet). The game engine is interesting but not my biggest concern, but for those who are affected in this space, at least there will be a 2.49a release.
I don't know you, and if you have contributed code then I'm sorry. It still doesn't excuse the tone of your post, IMO, which came of as: "Still broken and useless". As a contributer you must realize how much work there is left to do, being primarily done by volunteers, so why the "demanding" attitude?
Because the "hype" of the Open Source press does not always reflect the reality of the situation, and the things I mentioned in my original post won't make the 2.5 release but need to be kept in people's minds so that certain people remember to work on them so more people than myself can benefit
Blender has improved remarkably from the initial NaN GPL release, and its uv unwrapping is top notch. I'm sorry if I gave you the opposite impression but it is frustratingly limited in a pipeline that includes a REYES renderer.