What is BSD?
There is a close relation between BSD
and Linux. They are both UNIX©
clones, sort of like distant cousins. BSD
stands for Berkeley Software Distribution because it was developed at
University of California at Berkley
Since 1970's, the source code for Unix
operating system was included with the releases to allow further developing of
the operating system. The changes done at Berkley
became known as Berkeley Software Distribution. Although every version and
adaptation Unix is important, the 1984
release of BSD
known as 4.2BSD became popular and commonly used within universities.
In 1985, William Jolitz
and Lynne Jolitz
adapted the code of BSD
to work on the 80386 microprocessor
under the name 386BSD.
In 1991, Brad Grantham, Lawrence Kesteloot and Chris Caputo
to the Mac under the name
was running on Mac II systems.
In May 1993, NetBSD 0.8
was first released. NetBSD
was the first royalty-free Unix-like
operating system. Around the same time, Allen Briggs and Michael Finch started
to merge NetBSD 0.8
to avoid possible feuds. By the time NetBSD 1.0
came around, the NetBSD/mac68k
project was established.
In December 1993, Nate Williams, Rod Grimes and Jordan
Hubbard released FreeBSD 1.0
for x86 processors based on 4.4BSD-Lite
with components of the Unofficial 386BSD
Patchkit, which they had developed for William Jolitz's
In October 1995, Theo de Raadt (a former core team and
co-founder of NetBSD,
who asked to leave the organization) first released OpenBSD 2.0
as a fork of NetBSD.
In July 2003, Matthew Dillon started DragonFlyBSD,
which is fork of the FreeBSD 4.x
and belongs in the same class as Linux
being based on Unix ideals and
is also the base for Apple's
Mac OS X, known as the Darwin Project.
This has been Apple's
best decision ever. Many new Mac
users have found Apple
as a new source of Unix or a clone.
Under the BSD
umbrella, you can also get PicoBSD,
You can buy the disks for any BSD
distribution from the developers or third party vendors or you can also download
most versions of BSD
from many sites legally, thanks to various open source
licenses or you can buy them.
Before trying to install BSD,
get a full inventory of what your computer has. You might have to help the
installer recognize the hardware. Also make sure that your hardware manufacturer
supports the distribution of BSD
of your choice.
There are many ways to install BSD
(from a CD-ROM, FTP, HTTP, NFS, a DOS
partition, etc). If you are a beginner or lazy (as I am), do the installation
from a CD-ROM. Just put the disk in the CD-ROM drive, wait and boot. Do
not forget that the installation will erase (format) the
partition where you install the operating system. If you want to test
without doing any changes or erasing your hard drive, get a copy of any live
disk like FreeSBIE.
A simple way to install BSD
is to create two main disk partitions, a swap and a system native. As a rule of
thumb, make the swap partition (virtual memory, written to disk) twice the RAM
that your machine has. For example if the machine has 256 MB of RAM, assign 512
MB for swap. The rest of the disk should be partitioned as native (Unix File
System or UFS). To create the partitions, refer to the manual included with the
system that you are installing.
Some newer distributions have installers that do all the
configuration for you. One of these distributions is
which basically does everything for you.
Some of the information mentioned in this page was taken
from the developerWorks