Today we have released Anope 1.7.20. The bugtracker is nearly empty -- the one bug remaining is probably fixed but we're waiting on full confirmation -- and we're confident that the current codebase of the 1.7 series is pretty stable.
The next step is to fix up all documentation and other documents included in the release so that they are all up-to-date and do not give old instructions to people. Once this is done we can pack up a first release candidate for 1.8.0. Basically this means that 1.8.0 will finally hit the streets in the upcoming 2-3 months.
What will happen once 1.8 is the new stable branch? We will be working on Anope2, a rewrite in C++. The core of this rewrite will not be exclusive to Anope: any project building some sort of u:lined service should be able to use this core. The core will be developed together with the people from Denora. This helps to assure that the core does not get Anope specific, and it reduces the development effort required per developer to a doable level.
The core has been labeled IRC Cantus. There is not much official for that yet, apart from a very early web page with the logo on it. Once there is more info available I will post more updates on IRC Cantus.