While we were thinking that the announcement of 3.x branch was nothing more than Linus' mood swing, it seems there is more to it.
Linus wrote on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, "3.0 will still be noticeably faster than 2.6.39 due to the other changes made (ie the read-ahead), so yes, the regression itself is fixed."
The way Linus decided to announce the release of fist release candidate of Linux 3.0 was a classic example of Linus' sense of humour, "The whole renumbering was discussed at last years Kernel Summit, and there was a plan to take it up this year too. But let's face it - what's the point of being in charge if you can't pick the bike shed color without holding a referendum on it? So I'm just going all alpha-male, and just renumbering it. You'll like it."
Linus earlier said that there was no major change in this release. This version comes with the usual two thirds driver changes, and a lot of random fixes.