Seriously though Notch probably has half of the update already done, otherwise why announce the patch with a deadline then have a mad rush to actually make it.
That's the feeling I get, too. Like others have stated, the majority of the patch seems rather trivial to implement, and the rest have been experimented with for a while (biomes and new mobs, for instance)
And then, there'll be plenty of time for the more problematic ones (mostly SMP).
So I'm not too worried, but I hope he knows what he's doing.
This is essentially my view as well. Much of this list we already know about. We already know he's been developing biomes, we already know there is a hell. We already knew he was planning on making hell a fast travel world. We already know he's been planning more monsters. We already knew that fishing was coming since we already have the fishing poles. Most of this is stuff that we already knew was going to arrive sooner or later, he's just announced a date now. The few things that are actually news, are also quite trivial to implement.
I'm not too worried by the deadline, I expect he will be able to make it. Even the worst case scenerio would simply be that he trims the feature list slightly to get a patch out by the deadline with every intention of adding the rest as soon as he can. I doubt that will be necessary.
This forum would do good to go hang out with Valve and learn the real meaning of time.
Valve time? Try waiting for the Pandora (basically an indie handheld computer/console which kicks ass). Two years ago the vast majority of the community paid the full price as a pre-order (300 USD) expecting to have it by christmas of that year. And it's only just started shipping. (It's worth it though!)
Seriously, after seeing the Pandora delayed for MONTHS at a time when the case company screws up, or the volcano eruption prevents part shipment... this community seems to be a bit of a bunch of crybabies when it comes to delays.
Ha ha ha!
Pandora time? You ever heard of the flash game N? Back at their community, we've been waiting 5 years for version 1.5 to come out! In fact, five years ago 1.4 came out. Since then, nothing; no updates, no new versions, no new games, nothing! No wonder our community's diminishing.
Did everyone in the community pay a $300 pre-order for that free flash game? No? Well, there you go.
My point wasn't how long they have waited, but how long they have waited for something they've already paid for. I was trying to prove how grateful we should all be that Notch is letting us play his alpha at all.