[comp.unix.bsd] NetBSD, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD FAQ (Part 2 of 10)

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Dave Burgess

Sep 27, 1997, 3:00:00 AM9/27/97

Posted-By: auto-faq
Archive-name: 386bsd-faq/part2

Section 1. (General Network Information)
General information

This section of the FAQ is about the electronic support network
that exists for 386bsd and its off-spring.

1.0 I just downloaded all of 386bsd version 0.1 and I can't get
[some feature] to work? Do you have any suggestions?

Yes. Get FreeBSD, OpenBSD, or NetBSD.

1.1 Minimum hardware configuration recommended

There has been considerable debate about what the REAL minimum
configuration for *BSD is. Some would claim that it is the
smallest computer that an installation will succeed on. Others
claim that it is the smallest usable computer (based on RAM and
speed constraints) and others would claim that it should be
based on using 'X'-windows.

The smallest installable platform is an 80386, using an MGA card,
with at least 4Meg of RAM and a 40 Megabyte hard disk. While not
all SCSI cards (especially EISA) are supported, a great many are
either in the base distribution or through patches. Thanks to
the shared library code in FreeBSD and NetBSD, a 40Meg
installation should be easier now (in spite of the more advanced
functionality) than it ever was before.

A comfortable installation which includes source and binary
distributions, as well as other utilities will work in about
100Meg of hard drive.

'X' requires at least a Hercules MGA; for masochists only, from
what I understand.

See section 8 for more details.

1.4 Where to get the source and binaries

1.4.1 Where can I get the distribution on CD ROM?

In a new joint venture, John Cargille, DiscNet, Inc., and
InfoMagic, Inc. are pleased to announce their joint release
of the BSDisc. This collaboration should be beneficial to
all of our customers, since it brings to bear more experience,
more support capability, and economies of scale in production.

The BSDisc is scheduled to ship every six months or so. The
current (November 1995) disk is a two CD set with the following:

- NetBSD 1.1
- distribution sets for x86, sparc, mac68k, and amiga
- expanded source tree for all architectures
- FreeBSD 2.1.5
- distribution sets for x86
- expanded source and binary trees for x86
- XFree86 binaries for both FreeBSD and NetBSD
- X11R6 (xc as well as contrib)
- BSD-related news archive
- various Answers to Frequently asked Question (FAQs)

The BSDisc is available both for single-issue purchases, or on
a buying plan. Single-issue price is $35.00; subscription pricing
is $19.50 (or less) per issue, for a minimum length of 3 issues.
(Those prices do not include S/H.)

For single-issue purchases, contact InfoMagic at:
InfoMagic, Inc. Tel: +1-602-526-9565
PO Box 30370 Fax: +1-602-526-9573
Flagstaff, AZ 86003-0370 e-mail: ord...@Infomagic.com
For information about subscriptions, contact DiscNet at:

DiscNet, Inc. +1-608-846-9838
841 Acker Pkwy
DeForest, WI 53532 email: bsdis...@grilled.cs.wisc.edu

European subscriptions, email: bsd...@altona.ppp.net

I received this note from Jordan back in 1993. It is now sorely
out of date, since there have been many releases of FreeBSD
since then. The ordering info is still correct.

While I will _always_ encourage obtaining FreeBSD through "free"
channels (the Internet, friends, suspicious individuals in dark
alleys), and given that none of us will make any money from CD
sales, or ever have from FreeBSD in general given that WC's
sponsorship is confined to the loan of centralized development
hardware and network access, I still hope that some of you will
find the CD distribution medium convenient enough to order a
FreeBSD CD from Walnut Creek, thus indirectly supporting our
future development work.

If this marriage between commercial and free software interests
proves to be mutually beneficial (which still remains to be seen,
from Walnut Creek's point of view), it is my hope that it may serve
as a model for similar future endeavors. It is an unfortunate fact
that developing free software at this scale costs money, even with
the developers donating their time and efforts, and financing some
of it through the sale of convenient distribution media is one of
the least venal ways I know of going about it.

This CD contains a full FreeBSD 1.0.2 source & binary release, the
sources and binaries for XFree86 2.0, and numerous sources from the
FreeBSD "ports collection". Where space permitted, sources were
provided in both "packed" and "unpacked" forms for easy access both
as an on-line resource and as a source for compressed downloads in BBS
or release-construction situations. The CD is fully ISO9660 compatible
and has been mastered using RockRidge extensions for long filenames on
systems that support it (like FreeBSD! :-).

It is, of course, possible to install the system off the CD from
scratch, given some basic willingness to read a little documentation
and a few blank floppy disks. [ Ed Note. You would be surprised the
number of people that do not see this paragraph...DBB]

For the sake of convenience, I append the ordering information
distilled from FreeBSD's /usr/src/RELNOTES.FreeBSD below.

Ordering information:

Walnut Creek CDROM
4041 Pike Lane, Suite D
Concord CA 94520
1-800-786-9907, +1-510-674-0783, +1-510-674-0821 (fax)

Or via the Internet from ord...@cdrom.com. A current catalog can
be obtained via ftp from ftp.cdrom.com:/cdrom/catalog.

They accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and ship COD
within the United States. California residents please
add 8.25% sales tax.

ro...@public.btr.com (Roman Yanovsky ro...@btr.com) sent in this
note. I have edited it down some, but left in the bulk of the
stuff in case you need more information:

Subject: Linux Slackware and FreeBSD CD-ROM with X-windows etc.

Trans-Ameritech presents "The best Linux plus FreeBSD CDROM ever"

[ Linux stuff deleted ]

* For hacker's reference an uncompressed FreeBSD source tree is

* On the BSD side there is a full source and binary distribution
of the "final" FreeBSD 1.0

* If you have questions or problems Trans-Ameritech provides free
support via e-mail within 24 hours.

* We ship the same day as we get the order.

The new CDROM is available for $30 plus shipping/handling. If you
are a current customer, it is only $20. New releases will be
available every 3 month. Subscription is available.

Trans-Ameritech Enterprises, Inc.
2342A Walsh Ave.
Santa Clara, CA 95051

Tel. 408/727-3883
FAX: 408/727-3882

This information is offered with no warranties, guarantees,
franchise offers, or recommendations.

1.5.3 *BSD system mailing lists.

With the elimination of the old 386bsd mailing lists, the only
mailing lists that are still available are the ones for FreeBSD
and NetBSD. Information about the NetBSD lists and how to use
majordomo (the list handler) is available by mailing to

There are four mailing lists for FreeBSD and they are:

FreeBSD-hackers: for hackers
FreeBSD-questions: misc questions
FreeBSD-bugs: bug reports
FreeBSD-current: discussion of -current (in development)

Send to FreeBSD-hac...@freefall.cdrom.com to be added
to the hackers list, and *-questions-request@freefall... to be
added to the questions list.

For information about the NetBSD mailing lists, see the NetBSD
Mailing List FAQ that is posted regularly by Chris Demetriou in

1.5.4 System Updates.

There are at least two different ways of getting the updates
for the current source tree for both FreeBSD and NetBSD. The
first is the traditional FTP method, and the other is using a
utility called 'sup'. This program keeps a log of the source
modules that have been updated and sends out only those files
that have been changed. Included below are some sample
instructions from John Brezak <bre...@apollo.hp.com> on how to
run sup for NetBSD. The sup procedures for FreeBSD are similar
and are available via ftp from freefall.cdrom.com in the
~/ftp/pub/sup directory. This directory contains the sup
program, a man page, a sample sup-file and full instructions
for maintaining your sources via 'sup.

1.6 Documentation available

There are two types of documentation for *BSD. First is the
set that covers the operation and theory used in BSD-Unix.

1.6.1 BSD manuals

The full set of BSD documentation is available via anonymous FTP
via ftp://ocf.berkeley.edu/pub/Library/Computer/doc4.3. To print
this documentation on *BSD systems, replace the ditroff
references in the Makefile with 'groff -e -t -msU {SRC} >out.ps'
to generate PostScript format files. Use different options to
make the output conform to other print styles.

The etc distribution also comes with a documentation directory
/usr/share/doc which has nearly 3Meg of documentation about *BSD.

In addition, on-line manuals are available in the binary
distribution set. It contains specific information on the use
of UNIX utilities and commands. Type "man man" for information
on the online manual.

1.6.2 BSD books

For learning how to work in the Unix environment, the standard text
is "The Unix Programming Environment," by Kernighan and Pike.

For Unix Administration, the best is "Unix System Administration
Handbook," by Nemeth, Snyder and Seebass.

For systems level programming (i.e., systems calls), I recommend
"Advanced Unix Programming," by Marc Rochkind. Unfortunately it is
out-dated and oriented towards System V.

A new book "Advanced Programming in the Unix Environment," by W.
Richard Stevens is very up-to-date, and an excellent reference,
especially for dealing with POSIX standards issues.

For network programming, "Unix Network Programming," by W. Richard
Stevens is highly regarded.

The 4.3BSD Unix Manuals contain loads of invaluable tutorials and
historical papers in addition to hard copies of on-line documentation.
The six volume set is available from Usenix for $60.00 (email:

The 4.4 BSD Unix Manuals are the authoritative source for
information about the 4.4 BSD release, and by inference the
NetBSD and FreeBSD systems. They are available from O'Reilly
and Associates (the Nutshell series people). In addition the
the six volume set, there is a CD included (at a price) of the
entire 4.4 release. Combine this with the NetBSD 1.0 or FreeBSD
2.0 systems, and you should have a commercial quality operating
system available in no time.

I recommend you look at "The AWK Programming Language," by
Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan. This is a very nice prototyping
language - powerful and easy to use.

Another excellent reference book for *BSD is "The Design and
Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating system" by Samuel J.
Leffler, Marshall Kirk McKusick, Michael J. Karels, John S.
Quarterman, 1989, Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201-06196-1. While this
book is out of date in many sections, it is purported to be an
excellent source of historical information, if nothing else.
Chris Demetriou recommends the sections on the treatment of
file systems, caching and the networking layer. The sections in
this books which do not apply to *BSD include the VM section,
bootstrapping, and autoconfig.

Here is a list from Hellmuth Michaelis (duplicative as it may seem
to have all of these lists) for more information on *BSD:


Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc. "UNIX Programmer's Manual, Seventh
Edition, Volume 2". Revised and Expanded Version.
Holt, Rinehart and Winston 1983

George Pajari, "Writing Unix Device Drivers"
Addison Wesley 1992

Janet I. Egan and Thomas J. Teixeira, "Writing a UNIX Device Driver"
John Wiley & Sons 1989, especially the 30 page appendix
handling the unique features of the BSD system.

Janet I. Egan and Thomas J. Teixeira, "Writing a UNIX Device Driver"
Second Edition. John Wiley &*BSD1992

Leffler, McKusick, Karels, Quarterman, "The Design and Implementation
of the 4.3BSD UNIX Operating System"
Addison Wesley 1988, corrected Reprint 1989

Leffler, McKusick, "The Design and Implementation of the 4.3BSD UNIX
Operating System, Answer Book"
Addison Wesley 1991

Leffler, McKusick, Karels, Quarterman, "The Design and Implementation
of the 4.4BSD UNIX Operating System"
available in fine book stores everywhere

Maurice J. Bach, "The Design of the UNIX Operating System"
Prentice-Hall 1986

Sun Microsystems Inc., "Writing Device Drivers"
Part No. 800-3851-10, Revision A of 27 March 1990

Hewlett-Packard Company, "HP-UX Driver Development Guide",
Part No. 98577-90013, First Edition 07/91

W. Richard Stevens, "Advanced Programming in the UNIX Environment",
Addison Wesley 1992

Phillip M. Adams, Clovis L. Tondo, "Writing Unix Device Drivers in C",
Prentice Hall 1993

Peter Kettle, Steve Statler, "Writing Device Drivers for SCO UNIX,
A Practical Approach", Addison Wesley 1993

In addition, there are many other books which, for one reason or
another, have not made it into this brief list. Rest assured that
this is not intended to be an exhaustive list by any means.

There is also some documentation associated with the pcvt
console driver. Since this documentation is part of the normal
distribution on both FreeBSD and NetBSD, and DOES document a
device driver, it should be considered a good source for more
insight into writing device drivers.

1.6.6 The O'Reilly and Associates BSD 4.4 Set.

O'Reilly and Associates puts out a five book series that
includes all of the documentation for BSD 4.4. In addition,
they also sell a CD-ROM with all of the publicly releasable
BSD-4.4 code that is available. These books are good references
(perhaps not perfect, since many changes to the system have been
made even since these books were produced) but they do provide a
great deal of background and rationale for the system and the
history for much of the system.

1.6.7 Other FAQ's on the net that are relevant

Most FAQs are available by anonymous FTP from rtfm.mit.edu and
via Usenet News in news.answers and/or comp.answers. This FAQ
is no exception (I hope).

1.7.1 Official distribution sites

FreeBSD's 'home' is FreeBSD.cdrom.com (the home disk of Walnut
Creek). The portions of FreeBSD (versions less than 2.0) that
were encumbered are distributed with the tolerance of
AT&T/USL/Novell/SCO/whoever owns the source for SysV this
week. All FreeBSD versions (with version number >= 2.0) are
based solely on the freely redistributable BSD 4.4 sources.

NetBSD's 'home' is now ftp.NetBSD.Org. All versions of
NetBSD since 0.9 have replaced the kernel code from the 4.3
distribution with the source from the 4.4 distribution. The
only code still in NetBSD from the 4.3 distribution is some user
program code that was uncontested in the USL/UCB agreement.

OpenBSD's 'home' is ftp.openbsd.org. It was based on NetBSD
Version 1.0, so it is (by definition) clean. There are (at
least) two things which differentiate OpenBSD from NetBSD.
One big difference here is that nearly anyone can write
changes to the kernel code in the -current line and make
their updates available. Another is OpenBSD is hosted in
Canada, and therefore has no export restrictions on any of it's
code (specifically the encryption code for DES).

Dave Burgess Network Engineer - Nebraska On-Ramp, Inc.
*bsd FAQ Maintainer / SysAdmin for the NetBSD system in my spare bedroom
"Just because something is stupid doesn't mean there isn't someone that
doesn't want to do it...."

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