BuddyPress 1.8 has officially shipped with the codename, “Di Fara”. BuddyPress has a much smaller user base than the main WordPress project, but they are passionate users and developers.
The newest release continues the trend of reducing barriers between WordPress and BuddyPress, which is very helpful for more users to get involved with and use BuddyPress easily. Two features in 1.8 are better theme integration and an extension of WordPress' template hierarchy to BuddyPress templates.
From a theme perspective, as noted on the features post, BuddyPress has been quite good since 1.7. In 1.8, the plugin assumes less in the CSS, and therefore stays out of the way of more styles from themes so that theme authors can better customize their BuddyPress sites.
The new template hierarchy functionality enables users to create BuddyPress templates to be more specific than those in the default WordPress template hierarchy, again making overall customization easier.
You can check out all new features on the release notes page.
I'm not much of a BuddyPress user, but this looks like a great release focused on making the plugin better, more extensible, and easier to use. Congratulations to all of those involved.