Resources for Newbies
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: https://lists.FreeBSD.org/subscription/freebsd-questions. 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.
You can 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 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.
TrueNAS is a Network Attached Storage (NAS) software that shares and protects data from modern-day threats like ransomware and malware. TrueNAS makes it easy for users and client devices to access shared data through virtually any sharing protocol.
GhostBSD is derived from FreeBSD, GhostBSD uses the GTK environment to provide a beautiful looks and comfortable experience on the modern BSD platform offering a natural and native UNIX® work environment.
NomadBSD is a persistent live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery, for educational purposes, or to test FreeBSD’s hardware compatibility.
MidnightBSD is a BSD-derived operating system developed with desktop users in mind. It includes all the software you’d expect for your daily tasks: mail, web browsing, word processing, gaming, and much more.
pfSense is a FreeBSD based network security solution. 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 creating FreeBSD install media and introducing new users to your favorite operating system.
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.
Last modified on: August 30, 2023 by Ed Maste