As a "release candidate," Version 5.2 RC2 is not recommended for the average FreeBSD user, but was made available for download for more experienced users to test and return bug reports, he said.
This update fixes "a number of glaring bugs," according to Long, including system panics during installation and dynamic library problems in the "fixit" environment. The RC2 downloads are available for i386-, PC98-, DEC Alpha- and SPARC64-based hardware.
Longs announcement also indicated that this would be the last release candidate, with a final version of FreeBSD 5.2 shipping in the "first week of January."
Though many users remain on earlier versions of FreeBSD, including FreeBSD 4, FreeBSD 5 and above add a variety of features including, improved support for symmetric multiprocessing, optimized locking in the network stacks and support for Advanced Microdevices Inc.s 64-bit processors processors and more. Apple Computer Inc. has partially based the underpinnings for its Mac OS X operating system on FreeBSD 5.
The BSD family of Unix-based operating systems had their start in the 1970s at the University of California, Berkeley. Like Linux, it is an open-source project, though its copyright license is considered less restrictive than the GNU General Public License (GPL) used by many other similar projects. In turn, the FreeBSD project split off from general BSD development in 1993.