FreeBSD is a free and open-source
Unix-like operating system descended
Research Unix via the
Berkeley Software Distribution
Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD).
Although for legal reasons
FreeBSD cannot use the
Unix trademark, it
is a direct descendant of BSD, which was historically also called "BSD
Unix" or "Berkeley Unix". The first version of
FreeBSD was released in
1993, and as of 2005
FreeBSD was the most widely used open-source BSD
distribution, accounting for more than three-quarters of all installed
systems running open-source BSD derivatives.
FreeBSD has similarities with Linux, with two major differences in
scope and licensing:
FreeBSD maintains a complete operating system,
i.e. the project delivers kernel, device drivers, userland utilities,
and documentation, as opposed to
Linux only delivering a kernel and
drivers, and relying on third-parties for system software; and
FreeBSD source code is generally released under a permissive BSD
license, as opposed to the copyleft
GPL used by Linux.
FreeBSD project includes a security team overseeing all software
shipped in the base distribution. A wide range of additional
third-party applications may be installed using the pkgng package
management system or the
FreeBSD Ports, or by directly compiling
source code. Due to its permissive licensing terms, much of FreeBSD's
code base has become an integral part of other operating systems, such
as Juniper JUNOS, Apple's Darwin (which is the base for macOS, iOS,
watchOS, and tvOS operating systems by Apple), pfSense, the Nintendo
Switch system software, and the operating systems running on
Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
1.2 Birth of FreeBSD
2.6 Third-party software
2.9 OS compatibility layers
Documentation and support
3.1 Governance structure
7 Version history
8 See also
10 External links
Main article: History of FreeBSD
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
called this modified version "Berkeley Unix" or "BSD", implementing
features such as TCP/IP, virtual memory and the
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" (Net-2) without those six files.
Net-2 was released in 1991.
Birth of FreeBSD
In 1992, several months after the release of Net-2,
William Jolitz and
Lynne Jolitz wrote replacements for those six missing files, ported
BSD to the Intel 80386-based microprocessors, and called their new
operating system 386BSD. They released
386BSD via an anonymous FTP
server. The development flow of
386BSD was slow and after a period
of neglect, a group of
386BSD users decided to branch out on their own
FreeBSD so that they could keep the operating system up to
date. On 19 June 1993, the name
FreeBSD was chosen for the
project. The first version of
FreeBSD was released on November
In the early days of the project's inception, a company named Walnut
Creek CDROM, upon the suggestion of the two
FreeBSD developers, agreed
to release the operating system on CD-ROM. In addition to that, the
Jordan Hubbard and David Greenman, ran
FreeBSD on its
FreeBSD conferences and published FreeBSD-related
books, including The Complete
FreeBSD by Greg Lehey. By 1997, FreeBSD
was Walnut Creek's "most successful product". The company itself later
renamed to The
FreeBSD Mall and later iXsystems.
FreeBSD is used by many IT companies such as IBM, Nokia,
Juniper Networks, and
NetApp to build their product. Certain
parts of Apple's
Mac OS X
Mac OS X operating system are based on FreeBSD.
PlayStation 3 operating system also borrows certain components
from FreeBSD, while the
PlayStation 4 operating system is
FreeBSD 9. Netflix, WhatsApp, and
FlightAware are also examples of big, successful and heavily
network-oriented companies which are running FreeBSD.
FreeBSD were both derived from 1992's BSD release. In
BSDi started to release BSD/386, later called BSD/OS, an
operating system similar to
FreeBSD and based on 1992's BSD release.
AT&T filed a lawsuit against
BSDi and alleged distribution of
AT&T source code in violation of license agreements. The lawsuit
was settled out of court and the exact terms were not all disclosed.
The only one that became public was that
BSDi would migrate their
source base to the newer 4.4BSD-Lite sources. Although not involved in
the litigation, it was suggested to
FreeBSD that they should also move
FreeBSD 2.0, which was released on November 1994,
was the first version of
FreeBSD without any code from AT&T.
FreeBSD 9.1 startup with console login prompt
As a general purpose operating system,
FreeBSD is used in various
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
DNS server and a router, among other applications.
X Window System
X Window System is not installed by default, but is available in
FreeBSD ports collection. A number of
Desktop environments such as
KDE and Xfce, and lightweight window managers such as Openbox,
Fluxbox and dwm are also available to FreeBSD.
Although it explicitly focuses on the
IA-32 and x86-64 platforms,
FreeBSD also supports others such as ARM,
PowerPC and MIPS to a lesser
TCP/IP stack is based on the 4.2BSD implementation of TCP/IP
which greatly contributed to the widespread adoption of these
FreeBSD also supports IPv6, SCTP, IPSec, and
wireless networking (Wi-Fi). The
IPv6 and IPSec stacks were taken
from the KAME project. Also,
FreeBSD supports IPX and AppleTalk
protocols, but they are considered old and it is planned to drop
support of them in the upcoming
FreeBSD 5.4, support for the Common Address Redundancy Protocol
(CARP) was imported from the
OpenBSD project. CARP allows multiple
nodes to share a set of IP addresses. So if one of the nodes goes
down, other nodes still can serve the requests.
FreeBSD has several unique features related to storage. Soft updates
can protect the consistency of the UFS filesystem (widely used on the
BSDs) in the event of a system crash. Filesystem snapshots allow
an image of a UFS filesystem at an instant in time to be efficiently
created. Snapshots allow reliable backup of a live filesystem.
GEOM is a modular framework that provides
RAID (levels 0, 1, 3
currently), full disk encryption, journaling, concatenation, caching,
and access to network-backed storage.
GEOM allows building of complex
storage solutions combining ("chaining") these mechanisms. FreeBSD
provides two frameworks for data encryption:
GBDE and Geli. Both GBDE
and Geli operate at the disk level.
GBDE was written by Poul-Henning
Kamp and is distributed under the two-clause BSD license. Geli is an
GBDE that was written by Pawel Jakub Dawidek and first
From 7.0 onward,
FreeBSD supports the
previously an open source filesystem that was first developed by Sun
Microsystems, but when Oracle acquired Sun,
ZFS became a proprietary
product. However, the
FreeBSD project is still developing and
ZFS implementation via the Open
FreeBSD provides several security-related features including access
control lists (ACLs), security event auditing, extended file
system attributes, mandatory access controls (MAC) and
fine-grained capabilities. These security enhancements were
developed by the
TrustedBSD project. The project was founded by Robert
Watson with the goal of implementing concepts from the Common Criteria
for Information Technology Security Evaluation and the Orange Book.
This project is ongoing and many of its extensions have been
integrated into FreeBSD. The project is supported by a variety of
organizations, including the DARPA, NSA, Network Associates
Laboratories, Safeport Network Services, the University of
Pennsylvania, Yahoo!, McAfee Research, SPARTA, Apple Computer, nCircle
Network Security, Google, the University of Cambridge Computer
Laboratory, and others.
The project has also ported the NSA's FLASK/TE implementation from
Linux to FreeBSD. Other work includes the development of OpenBSM, an
open source implementation of Sun's Basic Security Module (BSM) API
and audit log file format, which supports an extensive security audit
system. This was shipped as part of
FreeBSD 6.2. Other infrastructure
FreeBSD performed as part of the
TrustedBSD Project has
GEOM and OpenPAM.
Most components of the
TrustedBSD project are eventually folded into
the main sources for FreeBSD. In addition, many features, once fully
matured, find their way into other operating systems. For example,
OpenPAM has been adopted by NetBSD. Moreover, the
Framework has been adopted by Apple for macOS.
FreeBSD ships with three different firewall packages: IPFW, pf and
IPFilter. IPFW is FreeBSD's native firewall. pf was taken from OpenBSD
IPFilter was ported to
FreeBSD by Darren Reed.
Taken from OpenBSD, the
OpenSSH program was included in default
OpenSSH is a Free implementation of the SSH protocol and is a
replacement for telnet. Unlike telnet,
OpenSSH encrypts all
information (including username and password).
In November 2012, The
FreeBSD Security Team announced that hackers
gained unauthorized access on two of the project's servers. These
servers were turned off immediately. More research demonstrated that
the first unauthorized access by hackers occurred on 19 September.
Apparently hackers gained access to these servers by stealing SSH keys
from one of the developers, not by exploiting a bug in the operating
system itself. These two hacked servers were part of the
infrastructure used to build third-party software packages. The
FreeBSD Security Team checked the integrity of the binary packages and
announced that no unauthorized change was made to the binary packages,
but they stated that they can't guarantee the integrity of packages
that were downloaded between 19 September and 11 November.
FreeBSD has been ported to a variety of instruction set architectures.
FreeBSD project organizes architectures into tiers that
characterize the level of support provided. Tier 1 architectures are
mature and fully supported. Tier 2 architectures are undergoing major
development. Tier 3 architectures are experimental or are no longer
under active development and Tier 4 architectures have no support at
As of January 2018[update],
FreeBSD has been ported to the following
referred to as "i386"
referred to as "amd64"
referred to as "pc98", support removed in 12-CURRENT
only 64-bit (V9) architecture
32-bit and 64-bit PowerPC
unsupported as of 11.0
only in 12-CURRENT
support discontinued in 7.0
The ARM and MIPS support is mostly aimed at embedded systems, however
FreeBSD/ARM runs on a number of single-board computers, including the
BeagleBone Black, Raspberry Pi and Wandboard.
FreeBSD has a software repository of over 26,000 applications that are
developed 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
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. 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. 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
First introduced in
FreeBSD version 4, jails is a security mechanism
and an implementation of operating-system-level virtualization that
enables the user to run multiple instances of a guest operating system
on top of a
FreeBSD host. It is an enhanced version of the traditional
chroot mechanism. A process that runs within such a jail is unable to
access the resources outside of it. Every jail has its own hostname
and IP address. It is possible to run multiple jails at the same time,
but the kernel is shared among all of them. Hence only software
supported by the
FreeBSD kernel can be run within a jail.
Main article: bhyve
bhyve, a new virtualization solution was introduced in
bhyve allows a user to run a number of guest operating systems
(FreeBSD, OpenBSD, Linux, and Microsoft Windows) simultaneously.
Other operating systems such as
Illumos are planned. bhyve was written
by Neel Natu and Peter Grehan and was announced in the 2011 BSDCan
conference for the first time. The main difference between bhyve and
FreeBSD jails is that jails are an operating system-level
virtualization and therefore limited to only
FreeBSD guests; but bhyve
is a type 2 hypervisor and is not limited to only FreeBSD
guests. For comparison, bhyve is a similar technology to
KVM whereas jails are closer to
LXC containers or Solaris Zones.
VirtualBox (without the closed-source Extension Pack) and
available on FreeBSD.
OS compatibility layers
Most software that runs on
Linux can run on
FreeBSD using an optional
built-in compatibility layer. Hence, most
Linux binaries can be run on
FreeBSD, including some proprietary applications distributed only in
binary form. This compatibility layer is not an emulation; Linux's
system call interface is implemented in the FreeBSD's kernel and
Linux executable images and shared libraries are treated the
same as FreeBSD's native executable images and shared libraries.
FreeBSD provides compatibility layers for several other
Unix-like operating systems, in addition to Linux, such as
SVR4, however, it is more common for users to compile those
programs directly on FreeBSD.
No noticeable performance penalty over native
FreeBSD programs has
been noted when running
Linux binaries, and, in some cases, these may
even perform more smoothly than on Linux. However, the layer
is not altogether seamless, and some
Linux binaries are unusable or
only partially usable on FreeBSD. There is support for system calls up
to version 2.6.18, available since
FreeBSD 7.0. As of release 10.3,
FreeBSD can run 64-bit
FreeBSD has implemented a number of
Microsoft Windows native NDIS
kernel interfaces to allow
FreeBSD to run Windows-only network
FreeBSD's kernel provides support for some essential tasks such as
managing processes, communication, booting and filesystems. FreeBSD
has a monolithic kernel, with modular design. Different parts of
the kernel, such as drivers, are designed as modules. The user can
load and unload these modules at any time. ULE is the default
FreeBSD since version 7.1, it supports SMP and SMT.
FreeBSD kernel has also a scalable event notification interface,
named kqueue. It has been ported to other BSD-derivatives such as
OpenBSD, NetBSD. Kernel threading was introduced in
using an M:N threading model. This model works well in theory,
but it is hard to implement and few operating systems support it.
Although FreeBSD's implementation of this model worked, it did not
perform well, so from version 7.0 onward,
FreeBSD started using a 1:1
threading model, called libthr.
Documentation and support
FreeBSD's documentation consists of its handbooks, manual pages,
mailing list archives, FAQs and a variety of articles, mainly
maintained by The
Documentation Project. FreeBSD's
documentation is translated into several languages. All official
documentation is released under the
Documentation License, "a
permissive non-copyleft free documentation license that is compatible
GNU FDL". FreeBSD's documentation is described as
FreeBSD project maintains a variety of mailing lists. Among
the most popular mailing lists are FreeBSD-questions (general
questions) and FreeBSD-hackers (a place for asking more technical
Since 2004, the New York City BSD Users Group database provides dmesg
information from a collection of computers (laptops, workstations,
single-board computers, embedded systems, virtual machines, etc.)
From version 2.0 to 9.0,
FreeBSD used the sysinstall program as its
main installer. It was written in C by Jordan Hubbard. It uses a text
user interface, and is divided into a number of menus and screens that
can be used to configure and control the installation process. It can
also be used to install Ports and Packages as an alternative to the
The sysinstall utility is now considered deprecated in favor of
bsdinstall, a new installer which was introduced in
bsdinstall is "a lightweight replacement for sysinstall" that was
written in sh. According to OSNews, "It has lost some features while
gaining others, but it is a much more flexible design, and will
ultimately be significant improvement".
FreeBSD is developed by a volunteer team located around the world. The
developers use the
Internet for all communication and many have not
met each other in person. In addition to local user groups sponsored
and attended by users, an annual conference, called BSDcon, is held by
USENIX. BSDcon is not FreeBSD-specific so it deals with the technical
aspects of all BSD operating systems, including
NetBSD. In addition to BSDcon, three other annual conferences,
EuroBSDCon, AsiaBSDCon and BSDCan take place in Europe,
FreeBSD Core Team
FreeBSD Project is run by around 500 committers, or developers who
have commit access to the master source code repositories and can
develop, debug or enhance any part of the system. Most of the
developers are volunteers and few developers are paid by some
companies. There are several kinds of committers, including source
committers (base operating system), doc committers (documentation and
web site authors) and ports (third party application porting and
infrastructure). Every two years the
FreeBSD committers select a
FreeBSD Core Team who are responsible for overall project
direction, setting and enforcing project rules and approving new
commiters, or the granting of SVN commit access. A number of
responsibilities are officially assigned to other development teams by
FreeBSD Core Team, for example, responsibility for managing the
ports collection is delegated to the Ports Management Team.
In addition to developers,
FreeBSD has thousands of "contributors".
Contributors are also volunteers outside of the
FreeBSD project who
submit patches for consideration by committers, as they don't have
direct access to FreeBSD's source code repository. Committers then
evaluate contributors submissions and decide what to accept and what
to reject. A contributor who submits high-quality patches is often
asked to become a committer.
FreeBSD developers maintain at least two branches of simultaneous
development. The -CURRENT branch always represents the "bleeding edge"
FreeBSD development. A -STABLE branch of
FreeBSD is created for
each major version number, from which -RELEASE are cut about once
every 4–6 months. If a feature is sufficiently stable and mature it
will likely be backported (MFC or Merge from CURRENT in FreeBSD
developer slang) to the -STABLE branch.
"Last week, I donated one million dollars to the
which supports the open source operating system that has helped
millions of programmers pursue their passions and bring their ideas to
I’m actually one of those people. I started using
FreeBSD in the
late 90s, when I didn’t have much money and was living in government
housing. In a way,
FreeBSD helped lift me out of poverty – one of
the main reasons I got a job at Yahoo! is because they were using
FreeBSD, and it was my operating system of choice. Years later, when
Brian and I set out to build WhatsApp, we used
FreeBSD to keep our
servers running. We still do.
I’m announcing this donation to shine a light on the good work being
done by the
FreeBSD Foundation, with the hope that others will also
help move this project forward. We’ll all benefit if
continue to give people the same opportunity it gave me – if it can
lift more immigrant kids out of poverty, and help more startups build
something successful, and even transformative."
FreeBSD development is supported in part by the
The foundation is a non-profit organization that accepts donations to
FreeBSD development. Such funding has been used to sponsor
developers for specific activities, purchase hardware and network
infrastructure, provide travel grants to developer summits, and
provide legal support to the
In November 2014, the
FreeBSD Foundation received 1 million USD
donation from Jan Koum, Co-Founder and CEO of WhatsApp, - the largest
single donation to the Foundation since its inception. In December
Jan Koum donated another 500 thousand dollars. Jan Koum
himself is a
FreeBSD user since the late 1990s and
FreeBSD on its servers.
FreeBSD is released under a variety of open source licenses. The
kernel code and most newly created code is released under the
BSD license which allows everyone to use and redistribute
FreeBSD as they wish. This license was approved by Free Software
Foundation and Open Source Initiative as a Free Software and
Open Source license respectively.
Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation described
this license as "a lax, permissive non-copyleft free software license,
compatible with the
GNU GPL". There are parts released under three-
and four-clause BSD licenses, as well as
Beerware license. Some device
drivers include a binary blob, such as the
Atheros HAL of FreeBSD
versions before 7.2. Some of the code contributed by other
projects is licensed under GPL, LGPL, CDDL and ISC. All the code
CDDL is clearly separated from the code under
liberal licenses, to make it easy for users such as embedded device
manufacturers to use only permissive free software licenses. ClangBSD
aims to replace some
GPL dependencies in the
FreeBSD base system by
GNU compiler collection
GNU compiler collection with the BSD-licensed LLVM/Clang
compiler. ClangBSD became self-hosting on 16 April 2010.
FreeBSD's mascot is the generic BSD Daemon, also known as Beastie.
For many years FreeBSD's logo was the generic BSD daemon, also called
Beastie, a distorted pronunciation of BSD. However, Beastie was not
unique to FreeBSD. First appearing in 1976 on
Unix T-shirts purchased
by Bell Labs, the more popular versions of the
BSD daemon were drawn
by animation director
John Lasseter beginning in 1984.
Several FreeBSD-specific versions were later drawn by Tatsumi
In lithographic terms, the Lasseter graphic is not line art and often
requires a screened, four color photo offset printing process for
faithful reproduction on physical surfaces such as paper. Also, the
BSD daemon was thought to be too graphically detailed for smooth size
scaling and aesthetically over-dependent on multiple color gradations,
making it hard to reliably reproduce as a simple, standardized logo in
only two or three colors, much less in monochrome. Because of these
worries, a competition was held and a new logo designed by Anton K.
Gural, still echoing the BSD daemon, was released on 8 October
2005. However, it was announced by Robert Watson that,
FreeBSD project is "seeking a new logo, but not a new mascot" and
FreeBSD project will continue to use Beastie as its
The name "FreeBSD" was coined by David Greenman on 19 June 1993, other
suggested names were "BSDFree86" and "Free86BSD". FreeBSD's
slogan, "The Power to Serve", is a trademark of The FreeBSD
Further information: List of products based on FreeBSD
PC-BSD version 7; the operating system is now known as TrueOS.
There are a number of software distributions based on FreeBSD
OpenServer 10 (server)
TrueOS, previously known as PC-BSD (aimed at home users and
workstations, but with a FreeNAS-like server version and
for ARM 32 bit embedded devices)
DesktopBSD (desktop-oriented operating system, originally based on
GhostBSD (MATE-based distribution, which also offers other desktop
FreeSBIE (live CD)
Frenzy (live CD)
HardenedBSD (exploit mitigation and hardening development)
Network-attached storage devices)
Network-attached storage devices)
AuthServ/Zilux - (for network servers & storage)
All these distributions have no or only minor changes when compared
with the original
FreeBSD base system. The main difference to the
FreeBSD is that they come with pre-installed and
pre-configured software for specific use cases. This can be compared
Linux distributions, which are all binary compatible because they
use the same kernel and also use the same basic tools, compilers and
libraries, while coming with different applications, configurations
Besides these distributions, there are some independent operating
systems based on FreeBSD.
DragonFly BSD is a fork from
aiming for a different multiprocessor synchronization strategy than
the one chosen for
FreeBSD 5 and development of some microkernel
features. It does not aim to stay compatible with
FreeBSD and has
huge differences in the kernel and basic userland.
MidnightBSD is a
FreeBSD 6.1 borrowing heavily from NeXTSTEP, particularly in
the user interface department.
Darwin, the core of Apple macOS, includes a virtual file system and
network stack derived from the
FreeBSD virtual file system and network
stack, and components of its userspace are also
Some subscription services that are directly based on
WhatsApp - processes 2 million concurrent TCP connections per
Embedded devices and embedded device operating systems based on
EMC Isilon's OneFS operating system.
NetApp's Data ONTAP 8.x and the now superseded ONTAP GX (only as a
loader for proprietary kernel-space module)
Netflix's Open Connect Appliance to handle content delivery.
PlayStation 4 ("Orbis OS")
Panasas' PanFS parallel file system
Main article: History of FreeBSD
Older version, still supported
Current stable version
Latest preview version
Old version, no longer supported: 1.0
The first official release.
The Ports Collection
Old version, no longer supported: 1.1
fix some outstanding bugs from import of 386BSD
addition of some ported applications (XFree86, XView, InterViews, elm,
Old version, no longer supported: 2.0
22 November 1994
replace code base with BSD-Lite 4.4 (to satisfy terms of the USL v.
BSDi lawsuit settlement)
new installer and new boot manager
loadable filesystems support for more filesystems (MS-DOS, unionfs,
imported loadable kernel modules from NetBSD
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1.5
16 July 1996
Old version, no longer supported: 2.1.7
17 February 1997
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2
replaced BSD malloc with phkmalloc
Linux emulation with ELF
Old version, no longer supported: 2.2.8
29 November 1998
Dummynet traffic shaping
Old version, no longer supported: 3.0
16 October 1998
symmetric multiprocessing (SMP)
CAM (Common Access Method)
VESA video modes
Old version, no longer supported: 3.1
15 February 1999
initial USB device support
Pluggable Authentication Modules (PAM)
Old version, no longer supported: 3.2
17 May 1999
Old version, no longer supported: 3.3
15 September 1999
Old version, no longer supported: 3.4
20 December 1999
RAID-5 support in vinum
Old version, no longer supported: 3.5
25 June 2000
Old version, no longer supported: 3.5.1
27 July 2000
Old version, no longer supported: 4.0
14 March 2000
IPv6 support and
IPsec with KAME (applications were also updated to
OpenSSH integrated into the base system
SVR4 binary files
Old version, no longer supported: 4.1
27 July 2000
Old version, no longer supported: 4.1.1
7 November 2000
Old version, no longer supported: 4.2
21 November 2000
Old version, no longer supported: 4.3
Old version, no longer supported: 4.4
Old version, no longer supported: 4.5
Old version, no longer supported: 4.6
Old version, no longer supported: 4.7
Old version, no longer supported: 4.8
3 April 2003
31 March 2004
in-kernel cryptographic framework imported from OpenBSD
Old version, no longer supported: 4.9
Old version, no longer supported: 4.10
27 May 2004
added ports/CHANGES and ports/UPDATING to
Old version, no longer supported: 4.11
25 January 2005
31 January 2007
Old version, no longer supported: 5.0
14 January 2003
30 June 2003
support for Ultra
SMP support via changes to kernel locking (release most of kernel from
the Giant lock)
Kernel Scheduled Entities
Mandatory Access Control imported from TrustedBSD
Old version, no longer supported: 5.1
9 June 2003
experimental support for AMD64
experimental 1:1 and M:N thread libraries for multithreaded processing
experimental ULE scheduler
Old version, no longer supported: 5.3
6 November 2004
31 October 2006
addition of new debugging framework KDB
import pf from OpenBSD
binary compatibility interface for native execution of
XFree86 with X.Org 6.7
cryptography enabled by default in base
Old version, no longer supported: 5.4
9 May 2005
31 October 2006
Common Address Redundancy Protocol from OpenBSD
Old version, no longer supported: 6.0
1 November 2005
Performance monitoring counters support
NDIS driver support
Old version, no longer supported: 6.1
8 May 2006
UFS filesystem stability
Additional Ethernet and
Old version, no longer supported: 6.2
15 January 2007
31 May 2008
support for Xbox architecture
OpenBSM audit subsystem
freebsd-update (binary updates for security fixes and errata patches)
Old version, no longer supported: 7.0
27 February 2008
30 April 2009
reference implementation of SCTP
add support for ARM architecture
Intel High Definition Audio
Intel High Definition Audio (HDA)
replacing phkmalloc with jemalloc
drop support for DEC Alpha
Old version, no longer supported: 7.1
4 January 2009
28 February 2011
ULE scheduler made default scheduler for i386 and
Old version, no longer supported: 8.0
26 November 2009
Old version, no longer supported: 8.1
23 July 2010
31 July 2012
Xen guest support
High Availability Storage
Native NFSv4 ACL support
Old version, no longer supported: 8.2
24 February 2011
USB 3.0 support
Old version, no longer supported: 8.3
9 April 2012
30 April 2014
Old version, no longer supported: 8.4
9 June 2013
1 August 2015
Old version, no longer supported: 9.0
12 January 2012
31 March 2013
Capsicum capability-based security mechanism
ZFS updated to version 28
bsdinstall, the new system installation program
RCTL, a flexible resource limits mechanism
GRAID, flexible software
Old version, no longer supported: 9.1
30 December 2012
31 December 2014
SCSI target layer subsystem
Old version, no longer supported: 9.2
30 September 2013
31 December 2014
bsdconfig, system configuration utility
Old version, no longer supported: 9.3
16 July 2014
31 December 2016
vt, the new virtual terminal implementation
Old version, no longer supported: 10.0
20 January 2014
28 February 2015
Clang replaced GCC on supported architectures
BIND replaced with LDNS and Unbound in base system
ZFS on Root
Added support for Raspberry Pi
Old version, no longer supported: 10.1
14 November 2014
31 December 2016
Virtualization improvements (FreeBSD/i386 guests in bhyve, boot from
UEFI boot for amd64
UDP Lite protocol (RFC 3828)
ZFS performance improvements
SMP support for armv6
New autofs-based automounter
Old version, no longer supported: 10.2
13 August 2015
31 December 2016
Linux compatibility version updated to support CentOS 6 ports
DRM code updated to match
Linux 3.8.13, allowing multiple simultaneous
ZFS reliability and performance improvements
GNOME, KDE, resolvconf, and ntp versions updated
Several enhancements to FreeBSD/arm support
Older version, yet still supported: 10.3
4 April 2016
30 April 2018
Support for 64-bit
Linux binaries through the compatibility layer
ZFS booting via UEFI
GNOME, X.Org Server, TeX Live, and xz versions updated
Current stable version: 10.4
3 October 2017
31 October 2018
Support for eMMC storage and Intel Kaby Lake devices
em(4) driver capable of WOL with Intel i217, i218 and i219 chips
OpenSSH, GNOME, and Xorg-Server has been updated
fsck_ffs(8) utility finds alternate superblocks
Old version, no longer supported: 11.0
10 October 2016
30 November 2017
New version of NetMap
Current stable version: 11.1
26 July 2017
Future release: 11.2
27 June 2018
Future release: 12.0
Currently under active development, so many things may change. Some
Current UPDATING file
What's New in
12.0 Release Notes Template
Free software portal
BAPP, a set of commonly used software with FreeBSD
Comparison of BSD operating systems
Comparison of operating system kernels
Comparison of operating systems
Computer Systems Research Group
How does one patch KDE2 under FreeBSD?
Marshall Kirk McKusick
Sakura HyperMedia Desktop
Security-focused operating system
Usage share of operating systems
FreeBSD 11.1-RELEASE Announcement". FreeBSD.org. 26 July 2017.
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