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Development branch for current release and is used as the base from which subsequent releases for each major version are generated.Typically contains the latest security updates at the point at which you download but it is changing all the time.Binary updates (freebsd-update) are supported for this branch only since this constitutes the so called security branch after installation.
Note on Extreme Sloth: By extreme application of the 'slothful' method of maintenance you could find yourself more that one major version behind (say, using 6.x when the current version is 9.x).
The best advice here is to never try a multi-version upgrade, say, from 6.x to 9.x - always pass through the intervening major version(s) - certainly as far as Step 6 since ABI (Application Binary Interface) changes may cause serious problems.
Some level of risk is involved, offset against being udated for the lastest security fixes, and significantly lower risk than using -CURRENT.
Resides in the /stable branch under the major version number, for example, svn.freebsd.org/base/stable/8 will provide the latest major version 8 sources (see here).
This step involves building all the various tools/utilities required to run Free BSD.