I’ve seen a bit of discussion popping up lately on why calling a parent theme a framework really isn’t correct. This is especially important with new framework releases like RichWP. A framework is not a parent theme.
I just finished reading a post by Justin Tadlock explaining the differences between WordPress theme frameworks, parent themes, and child themes. He also explains the problem that child themes were meant to solve (being able to customize your theme without fear of losing those customizations upon theme upgrades)…still exists.
With this explanation, Justin also reveals (again) that he will be releasing his own framework aptly named Hybrid Core. You can learn more here.