Still fooling with my mini-itx firewall/server box. Found that the USB-Ethernet device has somehow "healed" itself - doesn't panic on shutdown or hang on boot anymore, so it should be able to handle an unattended boot. Don't quite like it when things mysteriously stop/start working - but happy that it's going now.
Went ahead and loaded X, KDE, sound drivers, Mozilla on the little box. So maybe somedays I won't even boot up the big noisy Athlon - and will just work on the little box in peaceful quiet. Would be good to be a bit less Windows-dependant. Posting this from FreeBSD/Mozilla :)
Only hangup now is that copying large files to the box via Samba does something funky to the network interface. It becomes "stuck" with no packets flowing - until I do a "tcpdump -i vr0" for a bit - then it starts working again.
Happens with both the samba and samba-devel ports - don't know if it's some new FreeBSD 4.6 problem, or something goofed on my particular machine. Maybe if I wish real hard, that'll "heal" too :)