Matthew Seaman m.seaman at
Mon Jun 16 14:07:35 PDT 2003

On Mon, Jun 16, 2003 at 04:35:09PM -0400, Valerie Andrewlevich wrote:
> I'm a bit confused -- your website clearly states that freeBSD is a free
> OS, yet each of the sites that offer the CD charge money for it.  Am I
> missing something here?

Yes.  The CD Rom vendors are selling you CDs, not licenses to use

Part of the upfront cost of the CDs is donated back to the FreeBSD
project to help support development work.  Part is to cover the cost
of production of the CDs and the other expenses incurred by the CD
vendors.  The rest is the CD vendor's profit margin.  If you don't
think that pricing structure is a good deal, then no-one is forcing
you to buy

If you want to install FreeBSD and you have a network connection, you
can download .iso images (the same as on the Vendor CDs) or the
install floppies and install the whole system over the network for no
charge.  If you can beg, borrow or steal a set of CDs (whether bought
from one of the vendors, or home-burned) then you can use them to
install FreeBSD on as many machines as you want, again without charge.

It's also "Free" in the sense that you can do whatever you want with
it, so long as you abide by the terms of the BSD license.  That
license says, in essence that you must preserve the license statement
on the code that you use, and that you must acknowledge that you
derived your work from the work of the copyright holder, and that the
copyright holder isn't liable for any losses you may suffer through
use of the software.

Want to build a network appliance to run a proprietary firewall
product and use FreeBSD as the operating system?  Want to keep your
modifications proprietary? Go right ahead -- Nokia did exactly that.
What to lift the entire IP networking stack and use it in a new
proprietary OS -- fine: that's what Microsoft did -- see the
acknowledgements to Luigi Rizzo (FreeBSD committer: and the University of California,
Berkeley in



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP:         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 187 bytes
Desc: not available
Url :

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list