As usual... it takes the tech-heads to get the info right. Thanks to The Register for the real deal.
Turns out that it WAS released, but through a series of screw ups, it hasn't yet made its way out to the plebes.
The CD order page went live, except the order fulfillment code wasn't written yet! So they pulled the page down.
As for the binary of the SP itself, somehow it was released to the BETA servers, and not the general release servers.
As for the space requirements, CNN got that pretty badly wrong, too.
The download weighs in at 266MB! And depending on the scenario, one might require as much as 1560MB to install the dratted thing.
And though Microsoft's site doesn't have any links to SP2, it seems to be circulating the Net nevertheless. It was recently made available via MSDN, too, and people seem to be distributing it amongst themselves.
Search google for WindowsXP-KB835935-SP2-ENU.exe
The CNN headline makes it LOOK like it's released, but if you read the text, they say that MS has released it to their beta testers.
I'm not entirely sure if they mean to say that it's yet another beta, confusing it with the last beta, or mean to say advance copies of the final release are being given to the beta testers FIRST. Either way, I find that the CNN tech reporters tend to be people who don't really understand tech (ironic, no?), and so oversimplify or simply get the info WRONG when they report it.
Regardless, several days later the MS site remains XP SP2 free. Maybe they're taking their time to buy up the additional bandwidth necessary for the flood of requests?