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[comp.unix.bsd] NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD FAQ (Part 2 of 10)

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Posted-By: auto-faq
Archive-name: 386bsd-faq/part2

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Section 1. (General Network Information)
General information

	This section of the FAQ is about the electronic support network 
	that exists for 386bsd and its off-spring.  

1.0	I just downloaded all of 386bsd version 0.1 and I can't get
	[some feature] to work?  Do you have any suggestions?

	Yes.  Get FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or NetBSD.

1.1	Minimum hardware configuration recommended

	There has been considerable debate about what the REAL minimum 
	configuration for *BSD is.  Some would claim that it is the 
	smallest computer that an installation will succeed on.  Others 
	claim that it is the smallest usable computer (based on RAM and 
	speed constraints) and others would claim that it should be 
	based on using 'X'-windows.
	The smallest installable platform is an 80386, using an MGA card, 
	with at least 4Meg of RAM and a 40 Megabyte hard disk.  While not 
	all SCSI cards (especially EISA) are supported, a great many are 
	either in the base distribution or through patches.  Thanks to
	the shared library code in FreeBSD and NetBSD, a 40Meg 
	installation should be easier now (in spite of the more advanced
	functionality) than it ever was before.

	A comfortable installation which includes source and binary 
	distributions, as well as other utilities will work in about 
	100Meg of hard drive.  

	'X' requires at least a Hercules MGA; for masochists only, from 
	what I understand.

	See section 8 for more details.

1.4	Where to get the source and binaries
1.4.1	Where can I get the distribution on CD ROM?
	In a new joint venture, John Cargille, DiscNet, Inc., and 
	InfoMagic, Inc. are pleased to announce their joint release 
	of the BSDisc.  This collaboration should be beneficial to 
	all of our customers, since it brings to bear more experience, 
	more support capability, and economies of scale in production.

	The BSDisc is scheduled to ship every six months or so.  The
	current (November 1995) disk is a two CD set with the following:

	- NetBSD 1.1
		- distribution sets for x86, sparc, mac68k, and amiga
		- expanded source tree for all architectures
	- FreeBSD 2.1.5
		- distribution sets for x86
		- expanded source and binary trees for x86
	- XFree86 binaries for both FreeBSD and NetBSD
	- X11R6 (xc as well as contrib)
	- BSD-related news archive
	- various Answers to Frequently asked Question (FAQs)

	The BSDisc is available both for single-issue purchases, or on 
	a buying plan.  Single-issue price is $35.00; subscription pricing 
	is $19.50 (or less) per issue, for a minimum length of 3 issues.  
	(Those prices do not include S/H.)

	For single-issue purchases, contact InfoMagic at:
	InfoMagic, Inc.                           Tel: +1-602-526-9565
	PO Box 30370                              Fax: +1-602-526-9573
	Flagstaff, AZ  86003-0370         e-mail:
	For information about subscriptions, contact DiscNet at:

	DiscNet, Inc.                                   +1-608-846-9838
	841 Acker Pkwy
	DeForest, WI  53532	 email:

        European subscriptions, email:

	I received this note from Jordan back in 1993.  It is now sorely
	out of date, since there have been many releases of FreeBSD
	since then.  The ordering info is still correct.

	While I will _always_ encourage obtaining FreeBSD through "free" 
	channels (the Internet, friends, suspicious individuals in dark 
	alleys), and given that none of us will make any money from CD 
	sales, or ever have from FreeBSD in general given that WC's 
	sponsorship is confined to the loan of centralized development 
	hardware and network access, I still hope that some of you will 
	find the CD distribution medium convenient enough to order a 
	FreeBSD CD from Walnut Creek, thus indirectly supporting our 
	future development work.

	If this marriage between commercial and free software interests 
	proves to be mutually beneficial (which still remains to be seen, 
	from Walnut Creek's point of view), it is my hope that it may serve 
	as a model for similar future endeavors.  It is an unfortunate fact 
	that developing free software at this scale costs money, even with 
	the developers donating their time and efforts, and financing some 
	of it through the sale of convenient distribution media is one of 
	the least venal ways I know of going about it.

	This CD contains a full FreeBSD 1.0.2 source & binary release, the
	sources and binaries for XFree86 2.0, and numerous sources from the
	FreeBSD "ports collection".  Where space permitted, sources were
	provided in both "packed" and "unpacked" forms for easy access both 
	as an on-line resource and as a source for compressed downloads in BBS
	or release-construction situations.  The CD is fully ISO9660 compatible
	and has been mastered using RockRidge extensions for long filenames on
	systems that support it (like FreeBSD! :-).

	It is, of course, possible to install the system off the CD from 
	scratch, given some basic willingness to read a little documentation 
	and a few blank floppy disks.  [ Ed Note.  You would be surprised the
	number of people that do not see this paragraph...DBB]

	For the sake of convenience, I append the ordering information 
	distilled from FreeBSD's /usr/src/RELNOTES.FreeBSD below.

	Ordering information:

        Walnut Creek CDROM
        4041 Pike Lane, Suite D
        Concord CA  94520
        1-800-786-9907, +1-510-674-0783, +1-510-674-0821 (fax)

	Or via the Internet from  A current catalog can
	be obtained via ftp from

	They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and ship COD 
	within the United States.  California residents please 
	add 8.25% sales tax. (Roman Yanovsky sent in this
	note.  I have edited it down some, but left in the bulk of the
	stuff in case you need more information:

	Subject: Linux Slackware and FreeBSD CD-ROM with X-windows etc.

	Trans-Ameritech presents "The best Linux plus FreeBSD CDROM ever"

	[ Linux stuff deleted ]

	* For hacker's reference an uncompressed FreeBSD source tree is 

	* On the BSD side there is a full source and binary distribution 
	of the "final" FreeBSD 1.0

	* If you have questions or problems Trans-Ameritech provides free
	support via e-mail within 24 hours.

	* We ship the same day as we get the order.

	The new CDROM is available for $30 plus shipping/handling. If you 
	are a current customer, it is only $20.  New releases will be 
	available every 3 month. Subscription is available.

		Trans-Ameritech Enterprises, Inc.
		2342A Walsh Ave.
		Santa Clara, CA 95051

		Tel. 408/727-3883
		FAX: 408/727-3882

	This information is offered with no warranties, guarantees, 
	franchise offers, or recommendations.

1.5.3	*BSD system mailing lists.

	With the elimination of the old 386bsd mailing lists, the only
	mailing lists that are still available are the ones for FreeBSD 
	and NetBSD.  Information about the NetBSD lists and how to use 
	majordomo (the list handler) is available by mailing to

	There are four mailing lists for FreeBSD and they are:

	FreeBSD-hackers:	for hackers
	FreeBSD-questions:	misc questions
	FreeBSD-bugs:		bug reports
	FreeBSD-current:	discussion of -current (in development)

	Send to to be added 
	to the hackers list, and *-questions-request@freefall... to be 
	added to the questions list.

	For information about the NetBSD mailing lists, see the NetBSD
	Mailing List FAQ that is posted regularly by Chris Demetriou in

1.5.4	System Updates.

	There are at least two different ways of getting the updates
	for the current source tree for both FreeBSD and NetBSD.  The
	first is the traditional FTP method, and the other is using a 
	utility called 'sup'.  This program keeps a log of the source 
	modules that have been updated and sends out only those files 
	that have been changed.  Included below are some sample 
	instructions from John Brezak <> on how to 
	run sup for NetBSD.  The sup procedures for FreeBSD are similar 
	and are available via ftp from in the 
	~/ftp/pub/sup directory.  This directory contains the sup 
	program, a man page, a sample sup-file and full instructions 
	for maintaining your sources via 'sup.

1.6	Documentation available

	There are two types of documentation for *BSD.  First is the 
	set that covers the operation and theory used in BSD-Unix.  

1.6.1	BSD manuals

	The full set of BSD documentation is available via anonymous FTP 
	via  To print 
	this documentation on *BSD systems, replace the ditroff 
	references in the Makefile with 'groff -e -t -msU {SRC} >' 
	to generate PostScript format files.  Use different options to 
	make the output conform to other print styles.

	The etc distribution also comes with a documentation directory
	/usr/share/doc which has nearly 3Meg of documentation about *BSD.
	In addition, on-line manuals are available in the binary 
	distribution set.  It contains specific information on the use 
	of UNIX utilities and commands.  Type "man man" for information 
	on the online manual.

1.6.2	BSD books

	For learning how to work in the Unix environment, the standard text
	is "The Unix Programming Environment,"  by Kernighan and Pike.
	For Unix Administration, the best is "Unix System Administration
	Handbook," by Nemeth, Snyder and Seebass.

	For systems level programming (i.e., systems calls), I recommend
	"Advanced Unix Programming," by Marc Rochkind.  Unfortunately it is
	out-dated and oriented towards System V.  

	A new book "Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment," by W.
	Richard Stevens is very	up-to-date, and an excellent reference,
	especially for dealing with POSIX standards issues.

	For network programming, "Unix Network Programming," by W. Richard
	Stevens is highly regarded.
	The 4.3BSD Unix Manuals contain loads of invaluable tutorials and
	historical papers in addition to hard copies of on-line documentation.
	The six volume set is available from Usenix for $60.00 (email:

	The 4.4 BSD Unix Manuals are the authoritative source for
	information about the 4.4 BSD release, and by inference the
	NetBSD and FreeBSD systems.  They are available from O'Reilly
	and Associates (the Nutshell series people).  In addition the
	the six volume set, there is a CD included (at a price) of the
	entire 4.4 release.  Combine this with the NetBSD 1.0 or FreeBSD
	2.0 systems, and you should have a commercial quality operating
	system available in no time.

	I recommend you look at "The AWK Programming Language," by 
	Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan.  This is a very nice prototyping 
	language - powerful and easy to use.

	Another excellent reference book for *BSD is "The Design and 
	Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating system" by  Samuel J. 
	Leffler, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Michael J. Karels, John S. 
	Quarterman, 1989, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-06196-1.  While this 
	book is out of date in many sections, it is purported to be an 
	excellent source of historical information, if nothing else.  
	Chris Demetriou recommends the sections on the treatment of 
	file systems, caching and the networking layer.  The sections in 
	this books which do not apply to *BSD include the VM section, 
	bootstrapping, and autoconfig.

	Here is a list from Hellmuth Michaelis (duplicative as it may seem
	to have all of these lists) for more information on *BSD:


	Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. "UNIX Programmer's Manual, Seventh
		Edition, Volume 2". Revised and Expanded Version.
		Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1983

	George Pajari, "Writing Unix Device Drivers"
		Addison Wesley 1992

	Janet I. Egan and Thomas J. Teixeira, "Writing a UNIX Device Driver"
		John Wiley & Sons 1989, especially the 30 page appendix
		handling the unique features of the BSD system.

	Janet I. Egan and Thomas J. Teixeira, "Writing a UNIX Device Driver"
		Second Edition. John Wiley &*BSD1992

	Leffler, McKusick, Karels, Quarterman, "The Design and Implementation
		of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating System"
		Addison Wesley 1988, corrected Reprint 1989

	Leffler, McKusick, "The Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX
		Operating System, Answer Book"
		Addison Wesley 1991

	Leffler, McKusick, Karels, Quarterman, "The Design and Implementation
		of the 4.4BSD UNIX Operating System"
		available in fine book stores everywhere

	Maurice J. Bach, "The Design of the UNIX Operating System"
		Prentice-Hall 1986

	Sun Microsystems Inc., "Writing Device Drivers"
		Part No. 800-3851-10, Revision A of 27 March 1990

	Hewlett-Packard Company, "HP-UX Driver Development Guide",
		Part No. 98577-90013, First Edition 07/91

	W. Richard Stevens, "Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment",
		Addison Wesley 1992

	Phillip M. Adams, Clovis L. Tondo, "Writing Unix Device Drivers in C",
		Prentice Hall 1993

	Peter Kettle, Steve Statler, "Writing Device Drivers for SCO UNIX,
		A Practical Approach", Addison Wesley 1993

	In addition, there are many other books which, for one reason or 
	another, have not made it into this brief list.  Rest assured that 
	this is not intended to be an exhaustive list by any means. 

	There is also some documentation associated with the pcvt
	console driver.  Since this documentation is part of the normal
	distribution on both FreeBSD and NetBSD, and DOES document a
	device driver, it should be considered a good source for more
	insight into writing device drivers.

1.6.6	The O'Reilly and Associates BSD 4.4 Set.

	O'Reilly and Associates puts out a five book series that
	includes all of the documentation for BSD 4.4.  In addition,
	they also sell a CD-ROM with all of the publicly releasable
	BSD-4.4 code that is available.  These books are good references
	(perhaps not perfect, since many changes to the system have been
	made even since these books were produced) but they do provide a
	great deal of background and rationale for the system and the
	history for much of the system. 

1.6.7	Other FAQ's on the net that are relevant
	Most FAQs are available by anonymous FTP from and 
	via Usenet News in news.answers and/or comp.answers.  This FAQ
	is no exception (I hope). 
1.7.1	Official distribution sites

	FreeBSD's 'home' is (the home disk of Walnut
	Creek).  The portions of FreeBSD (versions less than 2.0) that
	were encumbered are distributed with the tolerance of
	AT&T/USL/Novell/SCO/whoever owns the source for SysV this 
	week.  All FreeBSD versions (with version number >= 2.0) are 
	based solely on the freely redistributable BSD 4.4 sources.

	NetBSD's 'home' is now ftp.NetBSD.Org.  All versions of
	NetBSD since 0.9 have replaced the kernel code from the 4.3 
	distribution with the source from the 4.4 distribution.  The
	only code still in NetBSD from the 4.3 distribution is some user
	program code that was uncontested in the USL/UCB agreement.

	OpenBSD's 'home' is  It was based on NetBSD
	Version 1.0, so it is (by definition) clean.  There are (at
	least) two things which differentiate OpenBSD from NetBSD.  
	One big difference here is that nearly anyone can write 
	changes to the kernel code in the -current line and make 
	their updates available.  Another is OpenBSD is hosted in
	Canada, and therefore has no export restrictions on any of it's
	code (specifically the encryption code for DES).

Dave Burgess                   Network Engineer - Nebraska On-Ramp, Inc.
*bsd FAQ Maintainer / SysAdmin for the NetBSD system in my spare bedroom
"Just because something is stupid doesn't mean there isn't someone that 
doesn't want to do it...."

User Contributions:

Apr 12, 2022 @ 11:11 am
FreeBSD 1.0 -
Let's keep it forever!

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