Unlike a few other WordPress services, bbPress is more or less the runt of the WordPress clan.
Compared to other Automattic services (like VaultPress, BuddyPress, VideoPress, etc.), which are only a plugin away, bbPress is more or less a nightmare for DIY bloggers who are not fluent in the art of geek (aka hosting language).
Coding headaches aside, it looks as if Autmattic is once again revisiting bbPress in order to make it easier to use for the masses.
I think WordPress integration is the most important item on the roadmap for the future of bbPress.
One, it’s an embarrassing pain in the butt to do now. One of the most frequent questions here on our forums. You have to jump through endless loops, and end up with something worse than most of the WP plugins for forums.
Two, we get the benefit of all the WordPress plugins and themes, which vastly outnumber our current options. Want private messaging? Use the BuddyPress plugin for it. Want OpenID? Stats? Sitemaps? There’s a plugin for that. Social network and profile features, in particular, are useful to the future of discussion forums and it’d be silly of us to duplicate that effort. (Official bbPress Blog)
Currently installing bbPress requires jumping through annoying database hoops, as well as various plugins to ensure login compatibility between your bbPress forum and your WordPress blog.
bbPress also currently requires plugins to be installed via FTP, which is time consuming when you are testing plugins (not to mention discouraging for users new to the hosting universe).
Making bbPress user friendly could help Automattic attract more users to the WP faith, as well as help them retain fans in the face of fierce competition from other CMS/blog services (like Textpattern and ExpressionEngine).
Thus far no time frame or bbPress beta announcement (for testing) has been made, although hopefully Automattic will redouble their efforts at making their software forum shine again.
(Image Credit: Mindblaze Technologies)