>"KDE 4.0.0 is our 'will eat your children' release of KDE4, not the next release of KDE 3.5" is how Seigo described it. [...] Seigo also minces few words when pointing to the distributions to take a large part of that blame.
KDE needs to rethink the way it tags version numbers onto its tarballs. However you roll it, x.0 should be a release that does not eat .. whatever, and if that means you have to subtract the number 2 from every release you make (4.0 -> think of something like 3.98 or 4.0-beta1; 4.2 -> 4.0).
Some packagers working for a given distro will even avoid putting "-alpha", "-beta" or even -RCs into the official large repository (the thing that becomes "$DISTRO $VERSION" in its usual turnaround cycle), probably because they have been bitten again and again. Experimentophile users can still download it through 2nd/3rd-party repos like in $SUSE_OBS.
And maybe one should take Linus's words if you're not/can't do X, you're not worth using and apply it to $DISTRO. So if $MAJOR_DISTRO $NEW_VERSION does not provide a fallback to $DE $VERSION.x when knowing that $DE $(X+1).0 is not ready, maybe it is time (for the user) to consider to s/// their $DISTRO.