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Yes, you read that right - FREE!
It's free of charge to acquire, except for the price of the CD-ROM or diskettes, or the Internet/phone-line charges to download it! It's freely re-distributable and includes a C-compiler and complete source code! It's free of restrictions on how you can use it! (...although reselling it commercially does impose restrictions on what you can sell and how you sell it.)
"It" is called "FreeBSD" ("UN*X" on Intel). (Further information on FreeBSD...) It's based on 4.4BSD from the University of California at Berkeley.
FreeBSD is a high-performance operating system that can be used for a web server, intranet server, database server, file server, print server, even a development machine for your commercial software products ... ANY use you might have. All it costs is the price of the machine on which you run it and the cost to acquire it (CD-ROM or download)!
Well, because there is currently no "affordable" OpenVMS for the small, home-based software developer, web-page author, web-site host, ISP, etc. Of course, there is the A.S.A.P. program at Digital, if you're looking to develop OpenVMS software or other products for Alpha (only), have in the neighborhood of $6,000 for an Alpha workstation and can afford upwards of $600 in annual expenses for license renewals and such.
...and, of course, there is no OpenVMS-x86, OpenVMS-Intel, or whatever they would have called it!
Well, to put it simply, it's hard to find a download site for Linux that's organized in such a straight-forward manner as the FreeBSD download site and it's mirrors. Most of the Linux download sites we've found present a "chicken and egg" problem - you can't download and install a Linux distribution until you download and install a Linux distribution. You must already be running Linux, BSD or the like, or at least Windows/95 - ANYthing that supports "long file names".
Check out our Linux page - we've added links to a couple of useful sites. One (Slackware Linux) has a base system that is suitable for downloading to an "8.3" system (DOS/Windows). Another (Caldera OpenLinux) has a downloadable base system that's suitable for installing from a DOS partition. (We've tried neither of these - if you try either of them, let us know how you fare!)
FreeBSD.org, at least, understands that when you download FreeBSD for the first time, you probably won't be running FreeBSD. The install CD-ROM (from Walnut Creek) and the FTP site include programs for starting up FreeBSD while running DOS, and the distribution file names all conform to the DOS limitation of "8.3". Most of the Linux sites we've found break this one key rule, thus exacerbating the "chicken and egg" problem.
You can get FreeBSD from it's home site, http://www.freebsd.org . The links here on our site all point to the V2.2.7-RELEASE version of FreeBSD. As of this writing (April 1998), V2.2.7 has just been released.
The FreeBSD Handbook (including installation information) and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) are both available in HTML ("web page") form. We've massaged them so that you can view them off-line with Netscape, Mosaic, Internet Explorer or other Windows web browsers - even DOS Lynx! You'll find the Handbook HTML and the FAQ HTML files in .ZIP archives here on our web site. You may need to "right click" these links and select a "Save Next Link As..." or similar option.
Great News! The FreeBSD Handbook (including installation information) and FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) are now both available in PDF (Adobe Acrobat) format! Nice Going, Folks!
Watch this web site for more goodies for FreeBSD!
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