On Mon, Mar 08, 2004 at 07:38:39AM -0800, Tosin A. Atolagbe wrote:
> Hi,
> My name is Tosin and I just have three questions regarding the FreeBSD operating 
> system?
> I intend on starting a business in the summer and I plan on using a secure operating 
> system (definitely not MS Windows). 
> 1.  Is FreeBSD useful for a desktop environment for people to use in a workplace, 
> (e.g. secretary, accountant, and manager) ?

Basically, yes, but it depends on the abilities of your staff and
their willingness to adapt to what may be a foreign environment for
them.  OpenOffice provides a very good stab at the same sort of
functionality as Microsoft Office: it's usable, but there may be a few
odd corners and rough spots.  Other applications -- like web browsers
-- far outclass the standard Microsoft equivalents.  You'll find that
FreeBSD based systems need someone knowledgeable to build them into a
network-wide structure (ie. setting up LDAP, mail systems, file shares
etc.) -- there aren't any point'n'drool interfaces for setting that
sort of thing up. (One unexpected bonus of that is that you will be
able to build something that precisely matches your needs, instead of
bodging your organization around the closest pre-canned setup you can
afford to buy).
> 2.  Is FreeBSD completely free to download and use for commercial use? If so, are 
> there licensing issues to worry about?

It's absolutely free in monetary terms, for whatever use you want to
make of it.  No licensing costs for anything under the BSD license.
That license says in essence: Here is the software. Do with it what
you will, just don't claim you wrote it, and don't blame us if you
break it.  Bits of the system, and many 3rd party add-on packages use
the Gnu Public License, which is very similar and usually equally free
of cost, but has extra restrictions that probably won't affect you
limiting the manner in which you may redistribute software. (ie. you
have to provide it under the same license and you must provide source
> 3.  Is FreeBSD a 64bit operating system, because I may also think of having a lot of 
> the projects on a server for accessing from other computers or even at home?

FreeBSD runs on a number of 64-bit platforms, yes.  Tier 1 platforms
at the moment include: Alpha, AMD64, IA64 and Sparc64 (See
http://www.freebsd.org/releases/5.2.1R/hardware.html) with work on PPC
and MIPS in the pipeline.  However, the best supported, most reliable
system for running FreeBSD on is still the IA32 platform.  The UFS2
filesystems in FreeBSD 5.x are fully 64bit in their internals on all
platforms, and capable of providing terabyte scale filesystems.
FreeBSD also supports the PAE extensions on IA32 machines, meaning
that the OS can make use of more than 4Gb RAM on a 32bit platform.



Dr Matthew J Seaman MA, D.Phil.                       26 The Paddocks
                                                      Savill Way
PGP: http://www.infracaninophile.co.uk/pgpkey         Marlow
Tel: +44 1628 476614                                  Bucks., SL7 1TH UK

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