I am redoing one of my tower PCs with FreeBSD 5.2.1 Release Candidate 2. That is such an impressive operating system. The debug window in the second virtual console during installation is so convenient. It’s probably been around for awhile, but this install was the first one I have done where I was prompted to look there for more information about an installation issue with one package. The debug info is so thorough.
Open Source installations are much less hectic now that I journal the installation. I use either a notepad or a second computer to record my steps, and it is quite helpful, particularly when things hit a snag or you have to remember a setting chosen earlier.
My wife and I went to her high school 10-year reunion last night, and I ended up meeting a classmate of hers that is a FreeBSD committer (developer, more or less). That was an interesting twist to the experience. I rarely meet anyone who knows what FreeBSD is, much less develops for the project.