BuddyPress will ship with a theme framework that acts as a parent theme. The default theme will be a child theme based on this framework and contain only images and css. Building a new BuddyPress theme will be as simple as creating a child theme based on the framework.
According to Andy, this approach with themes provides many benefits such as removing the need to recreate every template file for a new theme, receive new functionality when the parent theme is upgraded, etc. While themes that were created on the old system will continue to work for at least the next few versions, converting those themes to the new system shouldn’t be that hard. It’s important to note though that using the Framework is just an option and is not necessary.
BuddyPress 1.1 is on track for a September release.
Has this verified the importance or benefits using a Theme Framework? Theme authors, are you happy to see BuddyPress ship with it’s own framework?