Although the version “jump” from 0.45 to 0.46 might suggest a minor update, it is in fact a leap forward. There are way too many new features to mention here. To wet your appetite I just name native PDF support and colour management.
Check out the release notes to see a comprehensive list.
EDIT BY ROLF: I copied the following comment from Serge below in the thread to here.
This is not an exhaustive account but rather a personal summary of the highlights of Inkscape 0.46.
- Editing of gradients has become much user friendlier now. They can be edited on canvas and by simply dragging and dropping a colour on or between its nodes you can now very easily define a gradient.
- Inkscape has now implemented a bunch of SVG filters, e.g. displacement mapping or specular lighting. Using them is not straight forward at first instance but it provides a powerful way of concatenating basic filters to define a new filter. It reminds in a way of BlenderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s node editor. As one may expect, all these filters are non-destructive.
- Inkscape offers the possibility to use paths as a deforming object: the child object will be deformed according to this path. Here I encountered buggy behaviour when editing the paths: the handles of nodes move easily in random and extreme ways.
- You can use colour profiles and do soft proofing. There is no working space however which seems odd to me. Maybe I missed something.
- You can import PDF files now and then edit them as usual objects in Inkscape. This means that text, shapes, etc can be modified. This is not as strange as it looks: PDF is essentially also a vector format.
- Last but not least and for me a big surprise: the tweak tool. This is like the sculpt tool in Blender or ZBrush. You use the mouse as a modeling tool: you can push and pull paths, smooth or roughen them, change colour just by painting over objects with the mouse. You have not the feeling anymore that you are using a vector drawing application. If you have not done this before, it will require some getting used to, but after some time you cannot live without it.
As I said, there are many, many more changes, new features and enhancements. I can recommend to spend some hours reading and experimenting with 0.46. It will convince you that 0.46 is not just a minor upgrade. Of course there are some flaws, missing features (e.g. an improved way of handling layers) and you will probably encounter a bug. I am pretty sure by the way that those will be ironed out in a bug fixes release 0.46.1.
If you are curious to know more about Inkscape, heathenx and Richard Querin provide excellent screencasts in which they show how to use Inkscape. Highly recommended: http://screencasters.heathenx.org/