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Freebsd logo.svg
FreeBSD 10 Bootloader.png
FreeBSD 10 bootloader with ASCII art logo
Developer The FreeBSD Project
Written in {{#property:p277}}
OS family Unix-like (BSD)
Working state Active
Source model Open source
Initial release 1 November 1993; 28 years ago (1993-11-01)
Latest release 11.0 / 10 October 2016; 5 years ago (2016-10-10)
Marketing target Desktop, Workstation, Server, Embedded systems
Package manager pkg
Platforms IA-32, x86-64, SPARC64, IA-64, PowerPC, ARM, MIPS
Kernel type Monolithic with dynamically loadable modules
Userland BSD
Default user interface Command-line interface
License Simplified BSD, FreeBSD Documentation License
Official website

FreeBSD — is a free and open source Unix-like operating system descended from AT&T Unix via BSD, created at Berkeley University.

FreeBSD maintains a complete operating system, i.e. the project delivers kernel, device drivers, userland utilities and documentation, as opposed to Linux delivering a kernel and drivers only and relying on third-parties for system software;[1] and FreeBSD source code is generally released under a permissive BSD license as opposed to the copyleft GPL used by Linux.


FreeBSD's roots go back to the University of California, Berkeley. The university acquired a UNIX source license from AT&T. Students of the university started to modify and improve the AT&T Unix and called this modified version Berkeley Unix or BSD, implementing features such as TCP/IP, virtual memory and the Unix File System. The BSD project was founded in 1976 by Bill Joy. But since BSD contained code from AT&T Unix, all recipients had to get a license from AT&T first in order to use BSD.

In June 1989, "Networking Release 1" or simply Net-1 – the first public version of BSD – was released. After releasing Net-1, Keith Bostic, a developer of BSD, suggested replacing all AT&T code with freely-redistributable code under the original BSD license. Work on replacing AT&T code began and, after 18 months, much of the AT&T code was replaced. However, six files containing AT&T code remained in the kernel. The BSD developers decided to release the "Networking Release 2" without those six files. Net-2 was released in 1991.


As a general purpose operating system, FreeBSD could be used in various scenarios:[2]

FreeBSD contains a significant collection of server-related software in the base system and the ports collection, it is possible to configure and use FreeBSD as a mail server, web server, firewall, FTP server, DNS server and a router, among other applications.
Although FreeBSD does not install the X Window System by default, it is available in the FreeBSD ports collection. A number of Desktop environments such as GNOME, KDE and Xfce, and lightweight window managers such as Openbox, Fluxbox and dwm are also available to FreeBSD.
Embedded systems
Although it explicitly focuses on the x86 and x86-64 platforms, FreeBSD also supports others such as ARM, PowerPC and MIPS to a lesser degree.

Install variants

FreeBSD may be installed from:

  • DVD-ROM;
  • CD-ROM;
  • USB Flash Drive;
  • Floppy disk (not supported after 9.x);
  • HDD FAT formated partition ;
  • remote server via FTP or NFS).

Third-party software

by third parties. Examples include: windowing systems, web browsers, email clients, office suites and so forth. In general, the project itself does not develop this software, only the framework to allow these programs to be installed, which is known as the Ports collection. Applications may either be compiled from source ("ports"), provided their licensing terms allow this, or downloaded as pre-compiled binaries ("packages").The Ports collection supports the current and stable branches of FreeBSD. Older releases are not supported and may or may not work correctly with an up-to-date Ports collection.[3]

Ports use Makefile to automatically fetch the desired application's source code, either from a local or remote repository, unpack it on the system, apply patches to it and compile it.[1][4] Depending on the size of the source code, compiling can take a long time, but it gives the user more control over the process and its result. Most ports also have package counterparts (i.e. pre-compiled binaries), giving the user a choice. Although this method is faster, the user has fewer customisation options.

FreeBSD version 10.0 introduced the package manager pkg as a replacement for the previously used package tools.[5] It is functionally similar to apt and yum in Linux distributions. It allows for installation, upgrading and removal of both ports and packages. In addition to pkg, PackageKit can also be used to access the Ports collection.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Chisnall, David (20 January 2006). "BSD: The Other Free UNIX Family". Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  2. "Welcome to FreeBSD!". The FreeBSD Project. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  3. "Chapter 4 Installing Applications: Packages and Ports". Retrieved 30 January 2009. 
  4. Asami, Satoshi. "The FreeBSD Ports Collection" (PDF). USENIX. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  5. Larabel, Michael. "FreeBSD Still Working On Next-Gen Package Manager". Phoronix. Retrieved 9 August 2014.