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    <title>&os; &release.current; README</title>

    <corpauthor>The &os; Project</corpauthor>

    <pubdate>$FreeBSD: src/release/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/readme/article.sgml,v 2003/05/01 15:09:53 trhodes Exp $</pubdate>
    <pubdate>$DragonFly: src/release/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/readme/article.sgml,v 1.2 2003/06/17 04:27:19 dillon Exp $</pubdate>

      <holder role="">The FreeBSD Documentation Project</holder>

    <para>This document gives a brief introduction to &os;
      &release.current;.  It includes some information on how to
      obtain &os;, a listing of various ways to contact the &os;
      Project, and pointers to some other sources of


    <para>This distribution is a &release.type; of &os;
      &release.current;, the latest point along the &release.branch;

      <title>About &os;</title>

      <para>&os; is an operating system based on 4.4 BSD Lite for
	Intel, AMD, Cyrix or NexGen <quote>x86</quote> based PC
	hardware and Compaq (formerly DEC) Alpha computers.  Versions
	for the IA64, PowerPC, and Sparc64 architectures are currently
	under development as well.  &os; works with a wide variety of
	peripherals and configurations and can be used for everything
	from software development to games to Internet Service

      <para>This release of &os; contains everything you need to run
	such a system, including full source code for the kernel and
	all utilities in the base distribution.  With the source
	distribution installed, you can literally recompile the entire
	system from scratch with one command, making it ideal for
	students, researchers, or users who simply want to see how it
	all works.</para>

      <para>A large collection of third-party ported software (the
	<quote>Ports Collection</quote>) is also provided to make it
	easy to obtain and install all your favorite traditional UNIX
	utilities for &os;.  Each <quote>port</quote> consists of a
	set of scripts to retrieve, configure, build, and install a
	piece of software, with a single command.  Over &os.numports;
	ports, from editors to programming languages to graphical
	applications, make &os; a powerful and comprehensive operating
	environment that extends far beyond what's provided by many
	commercial versions of UNIX.  Most ports are also available as
	pre-compiled <quote>packages</quote>, which can be quickly
	installed from the installation program.</para>

      <title>Target Audience</title>

<![ %release.type.snapshot; [

      <para>This &release.type; is aimed primarily at early adopters
	and various other users who want to get involved with the
	ongoing development of &os;.  While the &os; development team
	tries its best to ensure that each &release.type; works as
	advertised, &release.branch; is very much a

      <para>The basic requirements for using this &release.type; are
	technical proficiency with &os; and an understanding of the
	ongoing development process of &os; &release.branch; (as
	discussed on the &a.stable;).</para>

      <para>For those more interested in doing business with &os; than
	in experimenting with new &os; technology, formal releases
	(such as &release.prev;) are frequently more appropriate.
	Releases undergo a period of testing and quality assurance
	checking to ensure high reliability and dependability.</para>


<![ %release.type.release; [

      <para>This &release.type; of &os; is suitable for all users.  It
	has undergone a period of testing and quality assurance
	checking to ensure the highest reliability and



    <title>Obtaining &os;</title>

    <para>&os; may be obtained in a variety of ways.  This section
      focuses on those ways that are primarily useful for obtaining a
      complete &os; distribution, rather than updating an existing

      <title>CDROM and DVD</title>

      <para>&os; -RELEASE distributions may be ordered on CDROM or DVD
	from several publishers.  This is frequently the most
	convenient way to obtain &os; for new installations, as it
	provides a convenient way to quickly reinstall the system if
	necessary.  Some distributions include some of the optional,
	precompiled <quote>packages</quote> from the &os; Ports

      <para>A list of the CDROM and DVD publishers known to the
	project are listed in the <ulink
	FreeBSD</quote></ulink> appendix to the Handbook.</para>


      <para>You can use FTP to retrieve &os; and any or all of its
	optional packages from <ulink
	url=""></ulink>, which is the official
	&os; release site, or any of its

      <para>Lists of locations that mirror &os; can be found in the
	Sites</ulink> section of the Handbook, or on the <ulink
	url=""></ulink> Web pages.
	Finding a close (in networking terms) mirror from which to
	download the distribution is highly recommended.</para>

      <para>Additional mirror sites are always welcome.  Contact
	<email></email> for more details on
	becoming an official mirror site.</para>

      <para>Mirrors generally contain the floppy disk images necessary
	to begin an installation, as well as the distribution files
	needed for the install process itself.  Many mirrors also
	contain the ISO images necessary to create a CDROM of
	a &os; release.</para>


  <sect1 id="contacting">
    <title>Contacting the &os; Project</title>

      <title>Email and Mailing Lists</title>

      <para>For any questions or general technical support issues,
	please send mail to the &a.questions;.</para>

      <para>If you are tracking the -STABLE development efforts, you
	<emphasis>must</emphasis> join the &a.stable;, in order to
	keep abreast of recent developments and changes that may
	affect the way you use and maintain the system.</para>

      <para>Being a largely-volunteer effort, the &os;
	Project is always happy to have extra hands willing to help&mdash;there are already far more desired enhancements than
	there is time to implement them.  To contact the developers on
	technical matters, or with offers of help, please send mail to
	the &a.hackers;.</para>

      <para>Please note that these mailing lists can experience
	<emphasis>significant</emphasis> amounts of traffic.  If you
	have slow or expensive mail access, or are only interested in
	keeping up with major &os; events, you may find it
	preferable to subscribe instead to the &a.announce;.</para>

      <para>All of the mailing lists can be freely joined by anyone
	wishing to do so. Visit <ulink url="">
	FreeBSD Mailman Info Page</ulink>.  This will give you more
	information on joining the various lists, accessing archives,
	etc.  There are a number of mailing lists targeted at special
	interest groups not mentioned here; more information can be
	obtained either through majordomo or the <ulink
	lists section</ulink> of the &os; Web site.</para>

	<para>Do <emphasis>not</emphasis> send email to the lists
	  asking to be subscribed.  Use the &a.majordomo; address

      <title>Submitting Problem Reports</title>

      <para>Suggestions, bug reports and contributions of code are
	always valued&mdash;please do not hesitate to report any
	problems you may find.  Bug reports with attached fixes are of
	course even more welcome.</para>

      <para>The preferred method to submit bug reports from a machine
	with Internet mail connectivity is to use the &man.send-pr.1;
	command or use the Web form at <ulink
	<quote>Problem Reports</quote> (PRs) submitted in this way
	will be filed and their progress tracked; the &os; developers
	will do their best to respond to all reported bugs as soon as
	possible.  <ulink
	url="">A list
	of all active PRs</ulink> is available on the &os; Web site;
	this list is useful to see what potential problems other users
	have encountered.</para>

      <para>Note that &man.send-pr.1; itself is a shell script that
	should be easy to move even onto a non-&os; system.  Using
	this interface is highly preferred.  If, for some reason, you
	are unable to use &man.send-pr.1; to submit a bug report, you
	can try to send it to the &a.bugs;.</para>

      <para>For more information, <ulink
	FreeBSD Problem Reports</quote></ulink>, available on the &os; Web
	site, has a number of helpful hints on writing and submitting
	effective problem reports.</para>

    <title>Further Reading</title>

    <para>There are many sources of information about &os;; some are
      included with this distribution, while others are available
      on-line or in print versions.</para>

    <sect2 id="release-docs">
      <title>Release Documentation</title>

      <para>A number of other files provide more specific information
	about this &release.type; distribution.  These files are
	provided in various formats.  Most distributions will include
	both ASCII text (<filename>.TXT</filename>) and HTML
	(<filename>.HTM</filename>) renditions.  Some distributions
	may also include other formats such as PostScript
	(<filename>.PS</filename>) or Portable Document Format

	    <para><filename>README.TXT</filename>: This file, which
	      gives some general information about &os; as well as
	      some cursory notes about obtaining a

	    <para><filename>RELNOTES.TXT</filename>: The release
	      notes, showing what's new and different in &os;
	      &release.current; compared to the previous release (&os;

	    <para><filename>HARDWARE.TXT</filename>: The hardware
	      compatability list, showing devices with which &os; has
	      been tested and is known to work.</para>

	    <para><filename>INSTALL.TXT</filename>: Installation
	      instructions for installing &os; from its distribution

	    <para><filename>ERRATA.TXT</filename>: Release errata.
	      Late-breaking, post-release information can be found in
	      this file, which is principally applicable to releases
	      (as opposed to snapshots).  It is important to consult
	      this file before installing a release of &os;, as it
	      contains the latest information on problems which have
	      been found and fixed since the release was

	  <para>Several of these documents (in particular,
	    <filename>HARDWARE.TXT</filename>, and
	    <filename>INSTALL.TXT</filename>) contain information that
	    is specific to a particular hardware architecture.  For
	    example, the alpha release notes contain information not
	    applicable to the i386, and vice versa.  The architecture
	    for which each document applies will be listed in that
	    document's title.</para>


      <para>These documents are generally available via the
	Documentation menu during installation.  Once the system is
	installed, you can revisit this menu by running the
	&man.sysinstall.8; utility.</para>

	<para>It is extremely important to read the errata for any
	  given release before installing it, to learn about any
	  <quote>late-breaking news</quote> or post-release problems.
	  The errata file accompanying each release (most likely right
	  next to this file) is already out of date by definition, but
	  other copies are kept updated on the Internet and should be
	  consulted as the <quote>current errata</quote> for this
	  release.  These other copies of the errata are located at
	  <ulink url=""></ulink> (as
	  well as any sites which keep up-to-date mirrors of this

      <title>Manual Pages</title>

      <para>As with almost all UNIX-like operating systems, &os; comes
	with a set of on-line manual pages, accessed through the
	&; command or through the <ulink
	url="">hypertext manual
	pages gateway</ulink> on the &os; Web site.  In general, the
	manual pages provide information on the different commands and
	APIs available to the &os; user.</para>

      <para>In some cases, manual pages are written to give
	information on particular topics.  Notable examples of such
	manual pages are &man.tuning.7; (a guide to performance tuning),
	&; (an introduction to &os; security), and
	&; (a style guide to kernel coding).</para>

      <title>Books and Articles</title>

      <para>Two highly-useful collections of &os;-related information,
	maintained by the &os; Project,
	are the &os; Handbook and &os; FAQ (Frequently Asked
	Questions document).  On-line versions of the <ulink
	and <ulink
	are always available from the <ulink
	url="">FreeBSD Documentation
	page</ulink> or its mirrors.  If you install the
	<filename>doc</filename> distribution set, you can use a Web
	browser to read the Handbook and FAQ locally.</para>

      <para>A number of on-line books and articles, also maintained by
        the &os; Project, cover more-specialized, &os;-related topics.
        This material spans a wide range of topics, from effective use
        of the mailing lists, to dual-booting &os; with other
        operating systems, to guidelines for new committers.  Like the
        Handbook and FAQ, these documents are available from the &os;
        Documentation Page or in the <filename>doc</filename>
        distribution set.</para>

      <para>A listing of other books and documents about &os; can be
        found in the <ulink
        of the &os; Handbook.  Because of &os;'s strong UNIX heritage,
        many other articles and books written for UNIX systems are
        applicable as well, some of which are also listed in the


    <para>&os; represents the cumulative work of many hundreds, if not
      thousands, of individuals from around the world who have worked
      countless hours to bring about this &release.type;.  For a
      complete list of &os; developers and contributors, please see
      to FreeBSD</quote></ulink> on the &os; Web site or any of its

    <para>Special thanks also go to the many thousands of &os; users
      and testers all over the world, without whom this &release.type;
      simply would not have been possible.</para>

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