I was hoping that we can do the real 1.8.1 release this weekend, and have a slow week or two towards the new year, but I ended up with an extra release candidate. Hopefully this will be the last rc release before the real thing.
A good news is that this delay was not caused by any last minute show-stopper regression. Rather, it was only to improve the quality of the pre-formatted documentation pages that are produced when the release is made. Relative to the previous 1.8.1-rc2, the only changes in the source tarball are documentation updates.
I've updated the AsciiDoc toolchain that is used to produce the pre-formatted documentation pages (git-htmldocs and git-manpages) to a newer version. I was assuming that the distributions all build their own versions of documentation pages with their versions of tools, but apparently some of them cheat and package these pre-formatted pages and give them to their customers. So if you are a developers of such a distribution, you may want to double-check the documentation tarballs for this release candidate.
The final will be tagged sometime around the end of the year or early next year.