A significant step has been taken down the road to FreeBSD 5.3. Ken Smith announced the availability of FreeBSD 5.3-BETA1 yesterday. You can download an ISO from one of the mirrors, where the directory for an .iso will look like ftp://ftp10.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/ISO-IMAGES/5.3/.
I downloaded an burned the disc 1 .iso to CD and installed it on a Dell PowerEdge 750. It seems to be working fine. I did not have to dance fandango on the keyboard like I did installing a snapshot from June. I did have to bang on the keyboard prior to OpenSSH key generation, however, to provide entropy for a process called by /etc/rc. I hope this is removed in the final RELEASE.
I am looking forward to the removal of the GIANT lock, especially in networking. Robert Watson explains what this means, along with caveats. This should make FreeBSD an even more capable packet capture platform. Check out this great tcpdump-workers thread for a variety of opinions on high-speed packet capture, led by Darren Reed.