Karl Berry sent a message to the TeX Live mailing list last night, saying that things are almost in place for a release. I’ve been trying TeX Live 2009 on my Windows system, and also on my new MacBook (as part of MacTeX 2009). It looks very stable on both systems. It seems a fair bet that it works well on Linux too (I’ll probably set it up on Ubuntu once it is released). There is just some work left to do on translations, apparently, so the code itself is probably representative of the release version.
The ability to update on-line means that the release to DVD is not as critical as it was in the past. However, it is still something of a marker in the TeX community.