you need to checkout two packages from cvs head,
xowiki and xotcl-core. If you have a recent dotlrn installation, move away the version of xotcl-core that you have already before getting the head versions
For you other questions, please wait a couple of days for the new release. We discussed with roc to update xotcl-core in the oacs-5-3 branch and put xowiki there as well to have a place for a "stable release", while the eager development continues in cvs head. More and more sites rely on xowiki. Depending on when they grab a version of xowiki the get a current snapshot of xowiki. While i am trying to keep thinks working, with about 15 commits per week, people get sometimes features and new behaviors, they don't expect, which makes as well communication and support harder than necessary.