Skip site navigation (1) Skip section navigation (2)

Resources for Newbies

Getting FreeBSD

The latest FreeBSD releases are available here. Before you begin, carefully read the installation instructions.

Learning about FreeBSD

  • The FreeBSD Handbook and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) are the main documents for FreeBSD. Essential reading, they contain a lot of material for newbies as well as advanced users. For users interested in installing a GUI, see the X Windows chapter.

  • Manual pages are good for reference but not always the best introduction for a novice. They generally provide information on a specific command, driver or service.

Questions and Support

  • Join the FreeBSD-Questions mailing list to see the questions you were too afraid to ask, and their answers. Subscribe by filling out the following form: You can look up old questions and answers via the search page.

  • The FreeBSD Forums offer another support channel. Many users have written various tutorials and lots of new users receive help there.

  • Search the Handbook and FAQ, the whole web site, or the FreeBSD mailing list archives.

  • The Support page contains a wealth of information about FreeBSD, including mailing lists, user groups, web and FTP sites, release information, and links to some sources of UNIX® information.

Learning about FreeBSD-derived projects

FreeBSD is widely used as a building block for other commercial and open-source operating systems. Some of the most widely used and publicly available systems are listed below.

  • FreeNAS is a storage solution that can be installed on virtually any hardware platform to share data over a network. It uses ZFS to protect, store, backup, all of your data.

  • PC-BSD is a FreeBSD derivative with a graphical installer and impressive desktop tools aimed at ease of use for the casual computer user.

  • pfSense is a FreeBSD free network security solution, based on FreeBSD. pfSense software, with the help of the package system, is able to provide the same functionality or more of common commercial firewalls, without any of the artificial limitations. It has successfully replaced every big name commercial firewall you can imagine in numerous installations around the world.

How to Contribute

Everyone has something to contribute to the FreeBSD community, even newbies! Some are busy working with the new advocacy group and some have become involved with the Documentation Project as reviewers. Other FreeBSD newbies might have particular skills and experiences to share, either computer related or not, or just want to meet new newbies and make them feel welcome. There are always people around who help others simply because they like to.

Friends who run FreeBSD are a great resource. No book can replace chatting on the phone or across a pizza with someone who has the same interests, enjoys similar accomplishments, and faces the same challenges. If you do not have many friends who use FreeBSD, consider using your old FreeBSD CDs to create some more.

User groups are good places to meet other FreeBSD users. If there is no one nearby, you might consider starting one!

For more information on getting involved in the community, see the Contributing to FreeBSD article.