We've just had a note passed to us, under the door, that says Minecraft developers Mojang are about to announce the four main bods behind Bukkit have "joined ranks" with the company. Bukkit would be the Minecraft server mod that made running Minecraft servers so much easier, and enormously improves mod support on the server side. The plan is to have the same flexibility on the official Minecraft server. I barely understand what I've written, but this works better:
John: So will this mean that Minecraft will finally properly support modding?
Carl Manneh: Yes!
"The plan is to build a fresh server API, and then extend it to support client-side modding (in one way or another). We will try to make it easy for bukkit users to convert if they wish to do so, but backwards compatibility is not guaranteed. We will, however, help bukkit to be compatible with 1.2, to avoid having a long gap while you wait for the official Minecraft server to catch up."
Which is to say, their current API (Application Programming Interface) isn't so good, and they're getting a new one which will make mod support better. Why Bukkit? Mojang explains that they were after more than just modding - they want to look after the server admins too. They add,
"We hope that this will help the quality of Minecraft multi-player to improve, both for large and private family servers, while still being able to add fun stuff for the bigger audience."
So, er, good! Proper mod support will be a many-splendoured thing, especially if you're an occasional player like me, and find each time you go back none of your extras work any more. Here are lots more details from Bukkit.