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FreeBSD is based on the 4.4BSD-Lite<_:indexterm-1/> release from Computer Systems Research Group (CSRG)<_:indexterm-2/> at the University of California at Berkeley, and carries on the distinguished tradition of BSD systems development. In addition to the fine work provided by CSRG, the FreeBSD Project has put in many thousands of man-hours into extending the functionality and fine-tuning the system for maximum performance and reliability in real-life load situations. FreeBSD offers performance and reliability on par with other Open Source and commercial offerings, combined with cutting-edge features not available anywhere else.
What Can FreeBSD Do?
The applications to which FreeBSD can be put are truly limited only by your own imagination. From software development to factory automation, inventory control to azimuth correction of remote satellite antennae; if it can be done with a commercial <trademark class="registered">UNIX</trademark> product then it is more than likely that you can do it with FreeBSD too! FreeBSD also benefits significantly from literally thousands of high quality applications developed by research centers and universities around the world, often available at little to no cost.
Because the source code for FreeBSD itself is freely available, the system can also be customized to an almost unheard of degree for special applications or projects, and in ways not generally possible with operating systems from most major commercial vendors. Here is just a sampling of some of the applications in which people are currently using FreeBSD:
<emphasis>Internet Services:</emphasis> The robust TCP/IP networking built into FreeBSD makes it an ideal platform for a variety of Internet services such as:
Web servers
IPv4 and IPv6 routing
Firewalls<_:indexterm-1/> and NAT<_:indexterm-2/> (<quote>IP masquerading</quote>) gateways
<primary>FTP servers</primary>
FTP servers<_:indexterm-1/>
<primary>electronic mail</primary> <see>email</see>
<_:indexterm-1/> <_:indexterm-2/> Email servers
And more...
<emphasis>Education:</emphasis> Are you a student of computer science or a related engineering field? There is no better way of learning about operating systems, computer architecture and networking than the hands on, under the hood experience that FreeBSD can provide. A number of freely available CAD, mathematical and graphic design packages also make it highly useful to those whose primary interest in a computer is to get <emphasis>other</emphasis> work done!
<emphasis>Research:</emphasis> With source code for the entire system available, FreeBSD is an excellent platform for research in operating systems as well as other branches of computer science. FreeBSD's freely available nature also makes it possible for remote groups to collaborate on ideas or shared development without having to worry about special licensing agreements or limitations on what may be discussed in open forums.
<primary>DNS Server</primary>
<emphasis>Networking:</emphasis> Need a new router?<_:indexterm-1/> A name server (DNS)?<_:indexterm-2/> A firewall to keep people out of your internal network? FreeBSD can easily turn that unused PC sitting in the corner into an advanced router with sophisticated packet-filtering capabilities.
<emphasis>Embedded:</emphasis> FreeBSD makes an excellent platform to build embedded systems upon. <_:indexterm-1/> With support for the <trademark class="registered">ARM</trademark>, <trademark class="registered">MIPS</trademark> and <trademark class="registered">PowerPC</trademark> platforms, coupled with a robust network stack, cutting edge features and the permissive <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/faq/introduction.html#bsd-license-restrictions">BSD license</link> FreeBSD makes an excellent foundation for building embedded routers, firewalls, and other devices.
<primary>X Window System</primary>
<_:indexterm-1/> <_:indexterm-2/> <_:indexterm-3/> <emphasis>Desktop:</emphasis> FreeBSD makes a fine choice for an inexpensive desktop solution using the freely available X11 server. FreeBSD offers a choice from many open-source desktop environments, including the standard <application>GNOME</application> and <application>KDE</application> graphical user interfaces. FreeBSD can even boot <quote>diskless</quote> from a central server, making individual workstations even cheaper and easier to administer.
<emphasis>Software Development:</emphasis> The basic FreeBSD system comes with a full suite of development tools including a full C/C++<_:indexterm-1/> compiler and debugger suite. Support for many other languages are also available through the ports and packages collection.
FreeBSD is available to download free of charge, or can be obtained on either CD-ROM or DVD. Please see <xref linkend="mirrors"/> for more information about obtaining FreeBSD.
Who Uses FreeBSD?


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