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    FreeBSD is a free version of UNIX that runs on Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentium, Intel 80486, and Motorola/IBM PowerPC.


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    “FreeBSD is a state of the art operating system for personal computers based on the Intel CPU architecture, which includes the 386, 486 and Pentium processors (both SX and DX versions). Intel compatible CPUs from AMD and Cyrix are supported as well. FreeBSD provides you with many advanced features previously available only on much more expensive computers.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “Technically, Windows NT Server 4.0 is no match for any UNIX operating system, not even the non-commercial BSDs [FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD] or Linux.” —John Kirchw51

    “FreeBSD technology is the most popular open source version of the BSD OS originally developed by the University of California at Berkeley. FreeBSD includes thousands of available applications, including the most popular Web, Internet, and email applications. FreeBSD is maintained by a collaborative development community called the FreeBSD Project, a worldwide team consisting of more than 5,000 developers funneling their work and suggestions to over 200 ‘committer’ developers, who are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the Project. It is available free of charge from ftp.FreeBSD.org (the world’s busiest FTP server) and also distributed as a shrink-wrap software product through retail outlets. FreeBSD is distributed under the business-friendly Open Source Berkeley Software Distribution license, which means that it can be copied and modified freely without restriction.” —Paul Schilling, Wind River, “bsdi_faq”, May 2001w71

Click here for sources to purchase a copy of FreeBSD.

Intended purpose

server/mainframe: small to large scale servers

desktop/workstation: workstations (for those with UNIX familiarity)

handheld: embedded systems

real time: not appropriate

Kind of OS: open source BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) UNIX

    “Source code for the entire system means you have the greatest degree of control over your environment. Why be locked into a proprietary solution and at the mercy of your vendor when you can have a truly Open System?” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “FreeBSD 2.X is a UN*X-like operating system based on U.C. Berkeley’s 4.4BSD-lite release for the i386 platform. It is also based indirectly on William Jolitz’s port of U.C. Berkeley’s Net/2 to the i386, known as 386BSD, though very little of the 386BSD code remains. A fuller description of what FreeBSD is and how it can work for you may be found on the FreeBSD home page.” —FreeBSD FAQw45

Release Date: December 1993w48 (see A Brief History of FreeBSD)

Current Version: 5.2.1w83; current stable version is 4.9w83

Cost: freew16

    “For the most cost-conscious customer, Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, or OpenBSD would be the obvious choices. They cost nothing, yet they are just as stable and offer as much functionality as, if not more than, the commercial UNIX operating systems.” —“Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

Hardware Supported: Intel/Cyrix/AMD Pentiumw16, 80486w16, 80386e104, DEC Alphae104, PC-98w83, UltraSPARCw83

Maximum Number of Processors: 4 (Intel SMP)e104

Number of bits: 32e104

    “FreeBSD is a 32-bit operating system and was designed as such from the ground up.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

Kernel: BSD4.4 + enhancementse104

    “Preemptive multitasking with dynamic priority adjustment to ensure smooth and fair sharing of the computer between applications and users.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “Kernel Queues allow programs to respond more efficiently to a variety of asynchronous events including file and socket IO, improving application and system performance.”w84

    “Accept Filters allow connection-intensive applications, such as web servers, to cleanly push part of their functionality into the operating system kernel, improving performance.”w84

    “Work in-progress includes support for fine-grained SMP locking in kernel, allowing higher performance on multi-processor machines, support for Scheduler Activations, allowing parallelism in threaded programs, filesystem snapshots, fsck-free booting, network optimizations such as zero-copy sockets and event-driven socket IO, ACPI support, and advanced security features such as Mandatory Access Control.”w84

POSIX: compatible

Peripherals:most basic PC hardware” —Kristian Elof Sørensenw36

    “Multiuser access means that many people can use a FreeBSD system simultaneously for a variety of things. System peripherals such as printers and tape drives are also properly SHARED BETWEEN ALL users on the system.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

File Systems Supported:

    “Soft Updates allows improved filesystem performance without sacrificing safety and reliability. It analyzes meta-data filesystem operations to avoid having to perform all of those operations synchronously. Instead, it maintains internal state about pending meta-data operations and uses this information to cache meta-data, rewrite meta-data operations to combine subsequent operations on the same files, and reorder meta-data operations so that they may be processed more efficiently.”w84

Other Systems Emulated: LINUX, SVR4, SCO, MS-DOSe104

    “Binary compatibility with many programs built for SCO, BSDi, NetBSD, Linux, and 386BSD.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “Compatibility modules enable programs for other operating systems to run on FreeBSD, including programs for Linux, SCO UNIX, NetBSD, and BSD/OS.”w84

Graphics Engine:

Text Command Shell: UNIX shells

User Interface (graphic): XFree86e94

    “The industry standard X Window System (X11R6) provides a graphical user interface (GUI) for the cost of a common VGA card and monitor and comes with full sources.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

Graphic Command Shell:

Disabled support:

Internet Services:

    “Yesterday’s college students learned their UNIX expertise on Linux and FreeBSD. Today they’re working in IT departments, and many of them are openly hostile to both Microsoft and Windows NT. As a result, Linux, BSD, Solaris, and other forms of UNIX are finding their way into IT departments, both overtly and on the sly.     “For example, are you sure that’s an NT server you’re connecting to at work? IS employees in many corporations have secretly installed UNIX servers that provide native NT services. Why take such a risk? Linux and FreeBSD are free, as is SAMBA, the software that provides NT services. So the IS department saves money. And managers are unlikely to find out UNIX is behind the scenes because fewer people will complain about server downtime.     “Fewer people will complain because the servers are more stable than Windows NT. Linux, FreeBSD, and BSDI UNIX outperform Windows NT by a wide margin on limited hardware, and under some circumstances can perform as well or better than NT on the best hardware. Once behind in scalability features, UNIX on Intel is catching up and may soon surpass NT in the number of processors it can use, and how it uses them.” —Nicholas Petreley (editor-in-chief of NC World and columnist for InfoWorld and NT World Japan), “The new UNIX alters NT’s orbit: The re-emergence of UNIX threatens to modify the future direction of NT”, NC World, April 1998w51

    “Since these operating systems [Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD] are free for use even in commercial environments, many ISPs run on Linux or FreeBSD.” —“Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”w51

    “Complete TCP/IP networking including SLIP, PPP, NFS and NIS support. This means that your FreeBSD machine can inter-operate easily with other systems as well act as an enterprise server, providing vital functions such as NFS (remote file access) and e-mail services or putting your organization on the Internet with WWW, ftp, routing and firewall (security) services.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “Meanwhile, Windows NT already loses on many more competitive issues. Linux, FreeBSD, and other forms of Unix can be configured as a firewall right out of the box. Windows NT cannot. Free Unix operating systems have built-in features like IP masquerading. Windows NT doesn’t even do basic IP filtering without additional software.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

    “Internet Services: The robust TCP/IP networking built into FreeBSD makes it an ideal platform for a variety of Internet services such as:w47

    “You can easily start out small with an inexpensive 386 class PC and upgrade as your enterprise grows.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

Powered By ...?

    Businesses and organizations with servers powered by FreeBSD: Amiga.com, Amiga.de, Apache.org (the Apache Project), Be.com (makers of the BeOS), Hotmail.com (Microsoft spent months attempting to switch Hotmail from FreeBSD to Windows 2000 — the fact that it took Microsoft months should tell you everything you need to know about the “quality” of Windows 2000), LinkExchange (owned by Microsoft), Netcraft.com, OSdata.com, Sony Japan, TeenWitch.com, WitchingHour.net, Yahoo.com (also uses Linux)w52

    “Support for IPsec and IPv6 allows improved security in networks, and support for the next-generation Internet Protocol, IPv6.”w84

Application Programs:


    “FreeBSD provides many security features to protect networks and servers.”w84
    “The FreeBSD developers are as concerned about security as they are about performance and stability. FreeBSD includes kernel support for stateful IP firewalling, as well as other services, such as IP proxy gateways.”w84
    “FreeBSD also includes support for encryption software, secure shells, Kerberos authentication, “virtual servers” created using jails, chroot-ing services to restrict application access to the file system, secure RPC facilities, and access lists for services that support TCP wrappers.”w84


    “Yesterday’s college students learned their Unix expertise on Linux and FreeBSD. Today they’re working in IT departments, and many of them are openly hostile to both Microsoft and Windows NT. As a result, Linux, BSD, Solaris, and other forms of Unix are finding their way into IT departments, both overtly and on the sly.” —Nicholas Petreley, “The new Unix alters NT’s orbit”, NC Worldw74

    “Memory protection ensures that applications (or users) cannot interfere with each other. One application crashing will not affect others in any way.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “Demand paged virtual memory and ‘merged VM/buffer cache’ design efficiently satisfies applications with large appetites for memory while still maintaining interactive response to other users.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47
    “A merged virtual memory and filesystem buffer cache continuously tunes the amount of memory used for programs and the disk cache. As a result, programs receive both excellent memory management and high performance disk access, and the system administrator is freed from the task of tuning cache sizes.”w84

    “Shared libraries (the Unix equivalent of MS-Windows DLLs) provide for efficient use of disk space and memory.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    “A full complement of C, C++ and Fortran development tools. Many additional languages for advanced research and development are also available in the ports and packages collection.” — FreeBSD in a Nutshellw47

    Wind River purchased Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek was an early supporter of FreeBSD, offering servers, hardware, and other development and distribution support. Wind River also purchased BSDi and their commercial unix known as BSD/OS.

    “Why does Wind River need both BSD/OS and FreeBSD? Wind River’s customers demand a fully supported commercial system with carefully controlled product direction, quality, and support. BSD/OS provides these benefits and Wind River will therefore continue to invest in the direct development of BSD/OS and its successors. These will provide the primary revenue engine for the BSD technology.

    “Wind River also recognizes the enormous leverage that open source projects can provide. When encouraged to prosper, open source can produce a wide variety of useful, stable technology and ideas. FreeBSD offers this opportunity for Wind River to cultivate. BSD/OS and other Wind River products will selectively incorporate technology or ideas surfaced by FreeBSD, including applications and drivers, and BSD/OS will maintain a high degree of compatibility with FreeBSD to optimize this synergy. To encourage the growth of FreeBSD, Wind River will also selectively donate technologies to the open source community. This plan provides Wind River customers with the best of both open source and commercial systems.” —Paul Schilling, Wind River, “bsdi_faq”, May 2001w71


references within this web site

(for your convenience, look for this symbol marking passages about FreeBSD)

further reading: web sites

Please send recommendations on additional URLs to Milo.

official web sites

    http://www.freebsd.org/ or http://www.freebsd.com/

    http://www.freebsd.org/handbook/handbook.html: the FreeBSD Handbook

    http://www.freebsd.org/handbook/handbook2.html: FreeBSD in a Nutshell

    http://www.freebsd.org/internet.html: About FreeBSD’s Internet working


(Frequently Asked Questions)

    http://www.freebsd.org/FAQ/FAQ.html “Frequently Asked Questions for FreeBSD 2.X”

    http://cynjut.neonramp.com/FAQ.html “The *BSD FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)”

user group web sites

other related web sites

    http://www.freebsdforums.org “FreeBSD Forums”

    http://www.freebsd.org/commercial.html “Commercial software for FreeBSD”

    ftp://ftp.freebsd.org/pub/FreeBSD/newsletter/issue1.pdf “FreeBSD Newsletter”

    http://dogma.freebsd-uk.eu.org/~chrisr/ “Chris R’s FreeBSD-UK Help Page: This is not an official site, it is a compilation of answers given in the ‘freebsd-questions@freebsd.org’ and other mailing lists.”

    http://www.bishopston.net/FreeBSD/ “Bishopston FreeBSD Page: FreeBSD, as the name suggests, is a totally free Operating System, and in my opinion, it’s the best and most stable operating system available today.”

    http://starbase.neosoft.com/~claird/comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc/freebsd.html “Cameron Laird’s personal notes on FreeBSD.”

    http://www.cons.org/cracauer/freebsd.html “Martin Cracauer’s FreeBSD Page: FreeBSD is an OpenSource implementation of a complete UNIX-compatible operating system. It contains everything you need for a running system, including kernel, C libraries, commandline tools, installation program, and a superb system to integrate and update third-party applications.”

    http://www.cdrom.com/titles/os/fbsd26.htm “Walnut Creek CD-ROM FreeBSD Products”

    http://www.bsd-network.org/ “BSD-Network: FreeBSD on BSD-Network.org, Personal of Gordon Bergling.”

    http://www.unixguide.net/unixguide.shtml “UNIXguide.net (AIX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, LINUX, SOLARIS & Tru64)”; a guide for comparable commands and directories in several popular forms of UNIX.

    http://home.earthlink.net/~bhami/rosetta.html “Rosetta Stone for Unix”; a guide for comparable commands and directories in several popular forms of UNIX (AIX, Darwin, DG-UX, FreeBSD, HP-UX, IRIX, Linux, NetBSD, OpenBSD, SCO OpenServer, Solaris, SunOS, Tru64, and ULTRIX).

    http://www.linuxrx.com/WS_Linux/OS_comparison.html “The Linux resource exchange — Operating systems comparison” LINUX, HPUX, Windows NT, BSDi, FreeBSD, IRIX, Digital UNIX, Solaris, Macintosh, OS/2, UnixWare, OpenServere83

    http://www.bsdsearch.com/ “BSDSearch.Com: We are the world’s largest search engine and directory for BSD.”

    http://www.bsdnet.dk “BSDnet.dk: *BSD related information.”

    http://www.unix-vs-nt.org/ John Kirch’s article “Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 versus UNIX”

    http://www.vmunix.com/mark/FreeBSD/ “Mark’s FreeBSD Resource Site: FreeBSD resource site: Information and general questions about FreeBSD, opinions, screengrabs, links to useful software packages, and more.”

    http://www.freebsd.org/internal/homepage.html “FreeBSD Homepages: List of Personal Web sites of FreeBSD Users.”


    http://www.fluidenterprises.net “Fluid Enterprises Inc.: A personal site powered by FreeBSD. A couple tutorials on FreeBSD exist there.”

    http://freebsd.peon.net/freebsd/ “David’s FreeBSD Tutorials & Manpages: Contained on this page are links to different FreeBSD Tutorials.”

    http://www.hugme.org/computer/freebsd “Freebsd how to page.”

    http://www.iet.unipi.it/~luigi/FreeBSD.html “Luigi Rizzo’s FreeBSD Page: List of Some FreeBSD-related projects/code.”

    http://computer.inetg.com/freebsd/freebsd.html “iNETGuide-Free BSD: links”

    http://www.djesys.com/freebsd/ “DJE Systems FreeBSD Page”

    http://www.cons.org/cracauer/bsd.html “Martin Cracauer BSD Pages: List of my own WWW pages about BSD systems.”

    http://www.nothing-going-on.demon.co.uk/ “Nik Clayton’s FreeBSD projects: This is a handy place for me to make available various bits and pieces that’ll probably be of use to others.”

    http://perfectisolation.dyndns.org “Perfect Isolation: Notes and How-To’s from my experience with Free BSD and OpenBSD.”

    http://www.inner-smile.com/bsd.phtml “Richey’s BSD-BOX: BSD Tips, Tricks, Docs, and FAQs.”

    http://zinzerv.cjb.net/ “ZinZerv FreeBSD: Help for further users’ understanding of FreeBSD.”

    http://www.triggerx.cjb.net “TriggerX — The Next Generation Nerd: This FreeBSD personal website contains articles, links, and some administrator programs. Also contains some BSD system and network programming white papers.”

    http://www.instinct.org/~pgl/freebsd-links.html “Useful FreeBSD Related Links”

    http://www.cdrom.com/titles/os/os.htm “Walnut Creek CDROM offerings of FreeBSD and Linux”

Spanish language web sites

    http://www.barrapunto.com/bsd/index.shtml “BarraPunto BSD: Pagina de noticias de BSD para los Hispanos.”

French language web sites

    http://www.multimania.com/frenchbsd/ “Le French BSD: Cette page rassemble de nombreuses informations, en français (oui, madame!) principalement sur FreeBSD, un système d’exploitation de type UNIX pour PC Intel (et compatibles).”

    http://worldserver.oleane.com/rsn/freebsd.html “Présentation de FreeBSD: FreeBSD est un système d’exploitation UNIX pour PC et compatibles. Il est basé sur 4.4BSD-Lite, la dernière implémentation d’UNIX effectuée par l’université américaine de Berkeley.”

further reading: books

    For more UNIX book listings, see also the general book listings on the UNIX web page.

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

further reading: books: introductory/general

    The Complete FreeBSD; by Greg Lehey; Walnut Creek; May 1998; ISBN 1571762272; Paperback (with 4 CD-ROMs); $69.95

A Practical Guide to the Unix System; by Mark G. Sobell; Addison-Wesley Pub Co; October 1994; ISBN 0805375651; paperback; 800 pages; $37.95

further reading: books: administration

    The Complete FreeBSD; by Greg Lehey; Walnut Creek; May 1998; ISBN 1571762272; Paperback (with 4 CD-ROMs); $69.95

    Installing and Running FreeBSD; out of print (can still be ordered through Amazon)

Essential System Administration: Help for Unix System Administrators (Nutshell Handbook); 2nd edition; by Aeleen Frisch; O’Reilly & Associates; December 1996; ISBN 1565921275; paperback; 788 pages; $27.96

    Universal Command Guide; by Guy Lotgering (UCG Team); Hungry Minds, Inc; April 2002; ISBN 0764548336; hardcover with CD-ROM; 1,600 pages; $69.99; cross references all of the commands from: AIX; Solaris; RedHat Linux; Berkeley BSD; NetWare 3.2, 4.11, 5, and 6; DOS 6.22; Windows 95, 98, ME, XP, NT 4 Workstation, NT 4 Server, NT 4 Terminal Server, 2000 Professional, 2000 Server, 2000 Advanced Server; Citrix Mainframe 1.8; and Mac 9

The Complete Guide to Netware 4.11/Intranetware; 2nd edition; by James E. Gaskin; Sybex; December 1996; ISBN 078211931X; paperback; $47.99; includes information on getting NetWare working with Windows, Macintosh, UNIX, and OS/2

further reading: books: internet

Building a Unix Internet Server; by George Eckel; New Riders Publishing; June 1995; ISBN 1562054945; paperback (with CD-ROM); 325 pages; $30.40

further reading: books: enterprise/business

further reading: books: content creation

further reading: books: programming

Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment (Addison-Wesley Professional Computing Series); by W. Richard Stevens; Addison-Wesley Pub Co; June 1992; ISBN 0201563177; hardcover; 744 pages; $63.95

further reading: books: hardware

further reading: books: miscellaneous

further reading: CD-ROMs

    FreeBSD Snapshot; Walnut Creek; March 1998; ISBN 1571762043; CD-ROM; $29.95; out of print (can still be ordered through Amazon) [NOTE: A more recent version of Walnut Creek FreeBSD is listed below.]

In Association with Amazon.com

If you want your book reviewed, please send a copy to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA.

related software

Price listings are for courtesy purposes only and may be changed by the referenced businesses at any time without notice.

We are working on providing a second source.

FreeBSD Power Pak 4.0; Walnut Creek; FreeBSD Power Pak 4.0 is a powerful, professional quality UNIX compatible operating system and comes latest version of FreeBSD, the Complete FreeBSD Manual and the FreeBSD Toolkit!; Pentium; $49.95

The Complete FreeBSD 3.2; Walnut Creek; Pentium; $29.95

FreeBSD Toolkit; Walnut Creek; This six disc set includes: the latest binary “snapshot” release of the FreeBSD 3.2-STABLE branch, updated packages and distfiles following 3.2-RELEASE, FreeBSD Project’s CVS repository unpacked and available for use directly off the CD-ROM, enture contents of the www.freebsd.org web site, a bootable FreeBSD 3.2-EXPRESS demo disc, and the latest version of XFree86 3.3.4, with support for several new video cards including Intel i740, SiS 530 and 620, 3Dfx Voodoo Banshee and Voodoo 3, Trident Blade3D, S3 Trio3D; Pentium; $19.95

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    A web site on dozens of operating systems simply can’t be maintained by one person. This is a cooperative effort. If you spot an error in fact, grammar, syntax, or spelling, or a broken link, or have additional information, commentary, or constructive criticism, please e-mail Milo. If you have any extra copies of docs, manuals, or other materials that can assist in accuracy and completeness, please send them to Milo, PO Box 1361, Tustin, CA, USA, 92781.

    If you have an extra or unwanted copy of any official manuals or documentation on this operating system, please send them to: Milo, POB 1361, Tustin, CA 92781, USA. I have the following items: NONE.

    Note: I am looking for a fan of FreeBSD who has the time to check this web site for completeness and accuracy regarding FreeBSD. Just check through the site about once a week or so and report back with any information (including the URL of the web page you are reporting).

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