Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More. on Tuesday offered Release Candidate 5.2 of its open-source Unix project. The group is prepping a final candidate due in January.

A new test version of the FreeBSD open-source Unix operating system was announced on Tuesday by Scott Long of the FreeBSD Release Engineering Team.

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.

Long’s 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.

eWEEK Labs took a look at FreeBSD 5.1 this summer. To read the full review, click here.

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.