As far as I know, I KNOW NOTHING. Of course, new features are always in the works for Blender, so ultimately everything is subject to change to a degree. I really wouldn’t be worrying about any changes to the current system, though, if any are made it’ll no doubt be for the better. And if compatibility issues are what you’re wondering about, you can always have multiple releases of Blender running on your computer if there are problems, like a lot of us do anyway.
If that’s not really what you meant, can you be more specific about your curiosity?
Yes of course there is a change in the way textures/materials are done. The concept behind it is completely the same but the UI is different and certain mechanics have been streamlined. Why so curious on this topic?
ok, ironically, that thread is about the viability if books being sold prior to the official Blender 2.6 release. Reading it in all the way through provides some insight into the feelings about these types of books. Lancer, btw, wrote Beginning Blender, so his opinions are interesting.
I have a copy of Lance Flavell’s (Lancer) book in particular, and I can see some areas where there might be some change in the future, but at least in his text I also can bet that a solid majority will hold true, especially in texturing and lighting. You’re right to be concerned about spending your money, but buying a book on advanced lighting techniques is a pretty safe bet. The things which have changed most since 2.37 (when I started using Blender) in this area have been the introduction of nodes, more lighting options, more raytraced material options, volume materials and voxel data, sss, strands, and optimized rendering. Most of these features and improvements have only ADDED to pre-existing systems rather than changing them outright. Not to mention, most of the development right now is geared toward other things. Basically, I think you’re safe to get the book(s). You’re going to learn enough to probably get you through any future changes anyway.
I’m under the assumption that odd development trees are beta and even releases are stable, having said that and read a few blurbs about books referencing 2.6, i’d say that is as true for Blender as anything else. Also AFAIK the books have been written with the 2.5 development process in mind and will be fully implemented by the time it is released as 2.6.
Anything out of the ordinary will be covered by errata and be fully available online (as is some stuff already!)
Being a book lover i’d say buy the books.
Also I bought the advanced lighting book even though i’m still using 2.49b and could do virtually everything in it using that!
The basic concepts about materials and textures have been consistent for years, if there are any changes it’ll be to do with the interface only and I can’t much more changing there!