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Here's my best recap and explanation because I think you are confusing the branch issue too much.
We have various levels of release that are decided as a release is prepared.
For example, is it a really major change and it become 4.0.x. Or is it pretty major and becomes 3.4.X. or is it minor and just becomes 3.3.x.
Right now, two issues are being debated: 1 - Branching or not branching and 2 - What is the next release?
I think the next release should be 3.4.0. I think there is a minor api change in libspamc and we can revamp sa-update to justify the change to 3.4.
This would be a new branch (the 3.4 branch).
Whether we handle the branch formally with svn or just through the branch called trunk is a question. To me that is a minor question and status quo is to create a branch formally. Since there is controversy, especially from our chair, I would likely. vote to maintain status quo and save the debate for larger issues. Plus not creating a branch would cause rule update issues I think.
The next release in January has no set version either. It could be 3.3.x if we continue that branch or 3.4.x or 4.0.x, etc. It all depends on the changes before that release. My guess is 3.4.x.