> Hello,
> My name is Bryan and I am interested in using FreeBSD on my computer. 
> Before I do so, I have a couple of questions I was wondering you could 
> answer.

OK.  First, because many people on these lists use text based Email readers,
please set your Email program to break lines at about 70 characters length
or just remember to hit RETURN/ENTER about there.   It makes it much easier
to read and to respond - and you do want a response, I presume.

> 1) Is FreeBSD truly free, as in I don't have to pay for it and can 
>    download it at no charge or is FreeBSD just a name?

It is free and you may download it freely.   Go to the FreeBSD ftp site
and download the iso[s], burn the cd[s] and start installing.  I would
recommend some study and preparation first, though so you know what you
are doing.    The FreeBSD handbook that can be read on or downloaded from
the FreeBSD site is a very good place to start.   There are also several
good books published.    FreeBSD Unleashed and The Complete FreeBSD are
a couple of good examples.   

There are a couple of companies that for a small cost, do the CD burning 
for you and most package them with a printed copy of the Handbook.  This 
is especially handy if your network connection is not so good.   It is also 
a good option because most of these companies donate a small portion of 
their receipts to the FreeBSD project.

> 2) Is FreeBSD in any way affected by the SCO lawsuits against Linux 
>    distributors and commercial users, as I am aware that FreeBSD is based 
>    on Unix? I believe it is the fact that Linux may have Unix code, but I 
>    am not sure, as I have read many different opinions.

The simple answer is no.  FreeBSD and the other current BSDs got their
lawsuit issues taken care of more than 10 years ago.   But, you can never
tell what a loose cannon like SCO or some other company who thinks they
can make a killing in court instead of doing real work might try to do.
In general, there are no deep pockets in the FreeBSD world, so it is
unlikely they will take an interest.   There are some rather large
companies using FreeBSD, but any claim against them would be even harder
to succeed.   So, it would appear FreeBSD is fairly safe from harrassment.

> 3) Is FreeBSD compatible with Linux software? I believe I read that 
>    somewhere.

Many pieces of software originally built on Linux, can be run on FreeBSD
merely by recompiling.   There is also a Linux compatibilty library that
can be installed which allows most other Linux utilities to run.  There
will, of course, be some things that are so dependent on Linux that they
are better off not being put on FreeBSD, but I believe that number is small.

> 4) Can FreeBSD run on a laptop that is hardware compatible, as I know 
>    some OS's cannot run on laptops but can on desktops?

Sure, it can run on a laptop.   It probably depends somewhat on which
laptop model you wish to use.   There is a hardware compatibility list
prepared for each release of FreeBSD that you can read on the FreeBSD
web site.  Just look for the release over on the right and click on
the hardware item.

> Thank you for your time.

You are welcome.   Enjoy FreeBSD,


> Bryan
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