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Frequently Asked Questions for FreeBSD 11.X and 12.X
Frequently Asked Questions for FreeBSD {rel2-relx} and {rel-relx}
This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for FreeBSD versions {rel-relx} and {rel2-relx}. Every effort has been made to make this FAQ as informative as possible; if you have any suggestions as to how it may be improved, send them to the {freebsd-doc}.
The latest version of this document is always available from the link:{faq}[FreeBSD website]. It may also be downloaded as one large link:.[HTML] file with HTTP or as a variety of other formats from the https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/[FreeBSD FTP server].
What is FreeBSD?
FreeBSD is a modern operating system for desktops, laptops, servers, and embedded systems with support for a large number of https://www.FreeBSD.org/platforms/[platforms].
It is based on U.C. Berkeley's "4.4BSD-Lite" release, with some "4.4BSD-Lite2" enhancements. It is also based indirectly on William Jolitz's port of U.C. Berkeley's "Net/2" to the i386(TM), known as "386BSD", though very little of the 386BSD code remains.
FreeBSD is used by companies, Internet Service Providers, researchers, computer professionals, students and home users all over the world in their work, education and recreation.
For more detailed information on FreeBSD, refer to the link:{handbook}[FreeBSD Handbook].
What is the goal of the FreeBSD Project?
The goal of the FreeBSD Project is to provide a stable and fast general purpose operating system that may be used for any purpose without strings attached.
Does the FreeBSD license have any restrictions?
Yes. Those restrictions do not control how the code is used, but how to treat the FreeBSD Project itself. The license itself is available at https://www.FreeBSD.org/copyright/freebsd-license/[license] and can be summarized like this:
Do not claim that you wrote this.
Do not sue us if it breaks.
Do not remove or modify the license.
Many of us have a significant investment in the project and would certainly not mind a little financial compensation now and then, but we definitely do not insist on it. We believe that our first and foremost "mission" is to provide code to any and all comers, and for whatever purpose, so that the code gets the widest possible use and provides the widest possible benefit. This, we believe, is one of the most fundamental goals of Free Software and one that we enthusiastically support.
Code in our source tree which falls under the https://www.FreeBSD.org/copyright/COPYING[GNU General Public License (GPL)] or https://www.FreeBSD.org/copyright/COPYING.LIB[GNU Library General Public License (LGPL)] comes with slightly more strings attached, though at least on the side of enforced access rather than the usual opposite. Due to the additional complexities that can evolve in the commercial use of GPL software, we do, however, endeavor to replace such software with submissions under the more relaxed https://www.FreeBSD.org/copyright/freebsd-license/[FreeBSD license] whenever possible.
Can FreeBSD replace my current operating system?
For most people, yes. But this question is not quite that cut-and-dried.