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For more detailed information on FreeBSD, refer to the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/index.html">FreeBSD Handbook</link>.
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 <link xlink:href="">license</link> 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 <quote>mission</quote> 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 <link xlink:href="">GNU General Public License (GPL)</link> or <link xlink:href="">GNU Library General Public License (LGPL)</link> 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 <link xlink:href="">FreeBSD license</link> whenever possible.
Can FreeBSD replace my current operating system?
For most people, yes. But this question is not quite that cut-and-dried.
Most people do not actually use an operating system. They use applications. The applications are what really use the operating system. FreeBSD is designed to provide a robust and full-featured environment for applications. It supports a wide variety of web browsers, office suites, email readers, graphics programs, programming environments, network servers, and much more. Most of these applications can be managed through the <link xlink:href="">Ports Collection</link>.
If an application is only available on one operating system, that operating system cannot just be replaced. Chances are, there is a very similar application on FreeBSD, however. As a solid office or Internet server or a reliable workstation, FreeBSD will almost certainly do everything you need. Many computer users across the world, including both novices and experienced <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> administrators, use FreeBSD as their only desktop operating system.
Users migrating to FreeBSD from another <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark>-like environment will find FreeBSD to be similar. <trademark class="registered">Windows</trademark> and <trademark class="registered">Mac OS</trademark> users may be interested in instead using <link xlink:href="">GhostBSD</link>, <link xlink:href="">MidnightBSD</link> or <link xlink:href="">NomadBSD</link> three FreeBSD-based desktop distributions. Non-<trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> users should expect to invest some additional time learning the <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> way of doing things. This <acronym>FAQ</acronym> and the <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/index.html">FreeBSD Handbook</link> are excellent places to start.
Why is it called FreeBSD?
It may be used free of charge, even by commercial users.
Full source for the operating system is freely available, and the minimum possible restrictions have been placed upon its use, distribution and incorporation into other work (commercial or non-commercial).
Anyone who has an improvement or bug fix is free to submit their code and have it added to the source tree (subject to one or two obvious provisions).
It is worth pointing out that the word <quote>free</quote> is being used in two ways here: one meaning <quote>at no cost</quote> and the other meaning <quote>do whatever you like</quote>. Apart from one or two things you <emphasis>cannot</emphasis> do with the FreeBSD code, for example pretending you wrote it, you can really do whatever you like with it.
What are the differences between FreeBSD and NetBSD, OpenBSD, and other open source BSD operating systems?
James Howard wrote a good explanation of the history and differences between the various projects, called <link xlink:href="">The BSD Family Tree</link> which goes a fair way to answering this question. Some of the information is out of date, but the history portion in particular remains accurate.
Most of the BSDs share patches and code, even today. All of the BSDs have common ancestry.
The design goals of FreeBSD are described in <xref linkend="FreeBSD-goals"/>, above. The design goals of the other most popular BSDs may be summarized as follows:
OpenBSD aims for operating system security above all else. The OpenBSD team wrote <citerefentry><refentrytitle>ssh</refentrytitle><manvolnum>1</manvolnum></citerefentry> and <citerefentry><refentrytitle>pf</refentrytitle><manvolnum>4</manvolnum></citerefentry>, which have both been ported to FreeBSD.
NetBSD aims to be easily ported to other hardware platforms.
DragonFly BSD is a fork of FreeBSD 4.8 that has since developed many interesting features of its own, including the HAMMER file system and support for user-mode <quote>vkernels</quote>.
What is the latest version of FreeBSD?
At any point in the development of FreeBSD, there can be multiple parallel branches. 12.<replaceable>X</replaceable> releases are made from the <emphasis>12-STABLE</emphasis> branch, and 11.<replaceable>X</replaceable> releases are made from the <emphasis>11-STABLE</emphasis> branch.
Up until the release of 12.0, the 11.<replaceable>X</replaceable> series was the one known as <emphasis>-STABLE</emphasis>. However, as of 13.<replaceable>X</replaceable>, the 11.<replaceable>X</replaceable> branch will be designated for an <quote>extended support</quote> status and receive only fixes for major problems, such as security-related fixes.
Releases are made <link linkend="release-freq">every few months</link>. While many people stay more up-to-date with the FreeBSD sources (see the questions on <link linkend="current">FreeBSD-CURRENT</link> and <link linkend="stable">FreeBSD-STABLE</link>) than that, doing so is more of a commitment, as the sources are a moving target.


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(itstool) path: question/para
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books/faq.pot, string 45