4. Further Reading

There are many sources of information about FreeBSD; some are included with this distribution, while others are available on-line or in print versions.

4.1. Release Documentation

A number of other files provide more specific information about this snapshot distribution. These files are provided in various formats. Most distributions will include both ASCII text (.TXT) and HTML (.HTM) renditions. Some distributions may also include other formats such as Portable Document Format (.PDF).

  • README.TXT: This file, which gives some general information about FreeBSD as well as some cursory notes about obtaining a distribution.

  • RELNOTES.TXT: The release notes, showing what's new and different in FreeBSD 10.4-STABLE compared to the previous release (FreeBSD 10.4-RELEASE).

  • HARDWARE.TXT: The hardware compatibility list, showing devices with which FreeBSD has been tested and is known to work.

  • ERRATA.TXT: Release errata. Late-breaking, post-release information can be found in this file, which is principally applicable to releases (as opposed to snapshots). It is important to consult this file before installing a release of FreeBSD, as it contains the latest information on problems which have been found and fixed since the release was created.

On platforms that support bsdinstall(8) (currently amd64, i386, ia64, pc98, and sparc64), these documents are generally available via the Documentation menu during installation. Once the system is installed, you can revisit this menu by re-running the bsdinstall(8) utility.


It is extremely important to read the errata for any given release before installing it, to learn about any late-breaking news or post-release problems. The errata file accompanying each release (most likely right next to this file) is already out of date by definition, but other copies are kept updated on the Internet and should be consulted as the current errata for this release. These other copies of the errata are located at ../../../../releases/ (as well as any sites which keep up-to-date mirrors of this location).

4.2. Manual Pages

As with almost all UNIX® like operating systems, FreeBSD comes with a set of on-line manual pages, accessed through the man(1) command or through the hypertext manual pages gateway on the FreeBSD Web site. In general, the manual pages provide information on the different commands and APIs available to the FreeBSD user.

In some cases, manual pages are written to give information on particular topics. Notable examples of such manual pages are tuning(7) (a guide to performance tuning), security(7) (an introduction to FreeBSD security), and style(9) (a style guide to kernel coding).

4.3. Books and Articles

Two highly-useful collections of FreeBSD-related information, maintained by the FreeBSD Project, are the FreeBSD Handbook and FreeBSD FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions document). On-line versions of the Handbook and FAQ are always available from the FreeBSD Documentation page or its mirrors. If you install the doc distribution set, you can use a Web browser to read the Handbook and FAQ locally. In particular, note that the Handbook contains a step-by-step guide to installing FreeBSD.

A number of on-line books and articles, also maintained by the FreeBSD Project, cover more-specialized, FreeBSD-related topics. This material spans a wide range of topics, from effective use of the mailing lists, to dual-booting FreeBSD with other operating systems, to guidelines for new committers. Like the Handbook and FAQ, these documents are available from the FreeBSD Documentation Page or in the doc distribution set.

A listing of other books and documents about FreeBSD can be found in the bibliography of the FreeBSD Handbook. Because of FreeBSD's strong UNIX® heritage, many other articles and books written for UNIX® systems are applicable as well, some of which are also listed in the bibliography.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/doc/

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <freebsd-questions@FreeBSD.org>.
Send questions about this document to <freebsd-doc@FreeBSD.org>.