FreeBSD, or “Free Berkeley Source Distribution” was conceived in 1993 and intended as a continuation of 386BSD, a Unix-like operating system. It ran on 32 bit PC compatible computer systems on the 80386 microprocessor.
From humble beginnings, FreeBSD code has been widely disseminated across other Unix based operating systems and can be found in diverse platforms such as Apple’s Mac OSX, OpenSolaris and Sony PlayStation’s OS.
Focus on stability and performance
Includes kernel and drivers
Built in security and network performance optimizations
Handles high volume traffic effectively
Wide open licensing
As a complete stack, FreeBSD maintains rock-solid security by providing an architecture which offers control on individual users, processes, networking and jails for each service.
Implementing a number of innovative storage features, FreeBSD offers the ZFS and UFS file systems which allow for fast and efficient filesystem snapshots, disk encryption, journaling and caching.
FreeBSD has a reputation for providing complete, up to date and well referenced documentation.
FreeBSD is renowned for best-in-class network performance. WhatsApp is reported to have achieved 2 million tcp connections on a single server.
The code base of FreeBSD is tightly controlled and has more conservative change policies in place. As a server OS, FreeBSD requires less updates & maintenance than with Linux, often making it the OS of choice for applications where downtime is not acceptable.
FreeBSD has a steep learning curve and is considered much less user-friendly than Linux. As a desktop operating system, FreeBSD is for time-rich technical enthusiasts only.
As a niche operating system, FreeBSD has a much smaller community compared to Linux and less technical users may have a difficult time getting help and support
Due to the conservative philosophy of FreeBSD and the smaller developer community, security or bug-fixing patches can be delayed
Vendor support is much lower for FreeBSD for hardware drivers and there are far fewer applications packaged ready for use with FreeBSD compared to Linux
It can be difficult and expensive to hire qualified FreeBSD administrators and developers due to its lower market penetration.