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FreeBSD is a Unix-like operating system descended from Unix via the BSD branch through 386BSD and 4.4BSD. It runs on processors compatible with the Intel x86 family of processors, as well as on the DEC Alpha, the SPARC UltraSparc processors by Sun Microsystems and the Itanium (IA-64). Support for AMD's X86-64 architecture is in development. It is generally regarded as being quite reliable and robust.

Initial development of FreeBSD was started in November of 1993 by Jordan Hubbard, and took its sources from 386BSD. However, due to concerns about the legality of all the sources used in 386BSD, FreeBSD re-engineered much of the system with the FreeBSD 2.0 release in January of 1995 using the 4.4BSD-Lite release from the University of California, Berkeley (and, again, at FreeBSD 3.0, that time from the 4.4BSD-Lite2 release). The current (June 2003) FreeBSD release is FreeBSD 5.1. The latest stable version of FreeBSD is 4.8, but work on the version 5-branch is constantly being made.

FreeBSD is released under the BSD License, which allows everyone to use and redistribute FreeBSD as they wish, as long as they do not remove the copyright notice and the BSD license itself (which does not prohibit re-licensing).

A version based on the GNU toolset is currently being developped by Debian as Debian GNU/FreeBSD.

See also: NetBSD, OpenBSD.

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All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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