I am pleased to report on the announcement that FreeBSD 5.3 RELEASE is now available. Note that this announcement mentions "GCC 2.4.2"; it should say GCC 3.4.2 and is correctly notated in the release notes. Download an .iso from a mirror.
- If you want to boot from the .iso and then install by downloading packages from the Internet, use 5.3-RELEASE-i386-bootonly.iso.
- If you want to install a "minimal" system without using the Internet, use 5.3-RELEASE-i386-miniinst.iso.
- If you want a full CD set with some packages, use 5.3-RELEASE-i386-disc1.iso. 5.3-RELEASE-i386-disc2.iso is a "fixit" CD or "live CD" that provides a limited environment useful for testing hardware compatibility prior to OS installation.
To avoid .iso and CD-ROMs altogether, you can use floppy images found in the pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/5.3-RELEASE/floppies/ directory on the FTP servers. Start with boot.flp and then use kern1.flp and kern2.flp as prompted. These .flp files are floppy images that you must write to a floppy using dd on UNIX or something like rawrite.exe on Windows, found on the FreeBSD FTP servers in the pub/FreeBSD/releases/i386/5.3-RELEASE/tools/ directory.
Update: I noticed a thread regarding problems with vinum. This post makes these claims:
gvinum on 5.3-RELEASE seems to work fine as a LVM (LogicalVolumeManager) and for striping (RAID-0) and mirroring (RAID-1).
It does *not* work for *writing* on RAID5-volumes in UP (SingleProcessor) environments due to a bug which was fixed too late for 5.3-RELEASE.
I'm not aware of any statistics about the use of (g)vinum - but for users of (g)vinum RAID5-Volumes in UP-environments 5.3-RELEASE *is* problematic."
From my perspective, I would avoid using vinum until the fix appears. I have also found a problem with the floppy driver and reported it via this problem report.