According to this thread over at Half-Life 2 Fallout forums, Gabe Newell has posted saying that a release candidate of Half-Life 2 has been sent to Vivendi Universal, and is pending approval for release. This time around, it isn't a hoax:

For readers doubt the authenticity of this post in light of the gold hoax, the IP does match up this time and many people have received e-mail confirmation from Doug Lombardi and Gabe Newell.

Via Forever Geek.