FreeBSD The Power to Serve

The BSD Daemon

The little red fellow that graces many of these pages is the BSD Daemon. In the context of UNIX® systems, daemons are process that run in the background attending to various tasks without human intervention. In the general sense, daemon is an older form of the word demon. In the Unix System Administration Handbook, Evi Nemeth has this to say about daemons:

"Many people equate the word "daemon" with the word "demon," implying some kind of Satanic connection between UNIX® and the underworld. This is an egregious misunderstanding. "Daemon" is actually a much older form of "demon"; daemons have no particular bias towards good or evil, but rather serve to help define a person’s character or personality. The ancient Greeks' concept of a "personal daemon" was similar to the modern concept of a "guardian angel" - "eudaemonia" is the state of being helped or protected by a kindly spirit. As a rule, UNIX® systems seem to be infested with both daemons and demons." (p403)

The earliest (and most popular) renditions of the BSD Daemon were created by John Lasseter. More recent FreeBSD-specific renditions have done by Tatsumi Hosokawa, but the basic inspiration was definitely John’s. The copyright holder and creator of the daemon image is Marshall Kirk McKusick. A short pictorial history is also available. There is a gallery of FreeBSD related publications that use variations of the daemon graphic.

Various size stuffed and beanie daemons are available from the FreeBSD Mall beanie daemon.

BSD Daemon Copyright 1988 by Marshall Kirk McKusick. All Rights Reserved.

Permission to use the daemon may be obtained from:

Marshall Kirk McKusick
1614 Oxford St
Berkeley, CA 94709-1608

or via email at

Last modified on: January 26, 2021 by Sergio Carlavilla Delgado