FreeBSD-CURRENT is the development version of the operating system, which will in due course become 5.0-RELEASE. As such, it is really only of interest to developers working on the system and die-hard hobbyists. See the relevant section in the handbook for details on running -CURRENT.
If you are not familiar with the operating system or are not capable of identifying the difference between a real problem and a temporary problem, you should not use FreeBSD-CURRENT. This branch sometimes evolves quite quickly and can be un-buildable for a number of days at a time. People that use FreeBSD-CURRENT are expected to be able to analyze any problems and only report them if they are deemed to be mistakes rather than ``glitches''. Questions such as ``make world produces some error about groups'' on the -CURRENT mailing list may be treated with contempt.
Every day, snapshot releases are made based on the current state of the -CURRENT and -STABLE branches. Nowadays, distributions of the occasional snapshot are now being made available. The goals behind each snapshot release are:
To test the latest version of the installation software.
To give people who would like to run -CURRENT or -STABLE but who do not have the time or bandwidth to follow it on a day-to-day basis an easy way of bootstrapping it onto their systems.
To preserve a fixed reference point for the code in question, just in case we break something really badly later. (Although CVS normally prevents anything horrible like this happening :)
To ensure that any new features in need of testing have the greatest possible number of potential testers.
No claims are made that any -CURRENT snapshot can be considered ``production quality'' for any purpose. If you want to run a stable and fully tested system, you will have to stick to full releases, or use the -STABLE snapshots.
Snapshot releases are directly available from ftp://current.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/ for 5.0-CURRENT and releng4.FreeBSD.org for 4-STABLE snapshots. 3-STABLE snapshots are not being produced at the time of this writing (May 2000).
Snapshots are generated, on the average, once a day for all actively developed branches.