A promotional stressball with the FreeBSD logo on it.

Enlarge / We could have used one of these FreeBSD stress balls while trying to get a desktop running. (credit: FAndrey / Flickr)

This month’s Linux distro review isn’t of a Linux distribution at all—instead, we’re taking a look at FreeBSD, the original gangster of free Unix-like operating systems.

The first FreeBSD release was in 1993, but the operating system’s roots go further back—considerably further back. FreeBSD started out in 1992 as a patch-release of Bill and Lynne Jolitz’s 386BSD—but 386BSD itself came from the original Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). BSD itself goes back to 1977—for reference, Linus Torvalds was only seven years old then.

Before we get started, I’d like to acknowledge something up front—our distro reviews include the desktop experience, and that is very much not FreeBSD’s strength. FreeBSD is far, far better suited to running as a headless server than as a desktop! We’re going to get a full desktop running on it anyway, because according to Lee Hutchinson, I hate myself—and also because we can’t imagine readers wouldn’t care about it.

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