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From: (Carl S. Shapiro)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc
Subject: FreeBSD, the name
Date: 25 Mar 1995 20:57:52 GMT
Organization: Cloud 9 Internet + White Plains, New York USA
Lines: 11
Message-ID: <3l204g$>
X-Newsreader: TIN [version 1.2 PL2]

	Can someone tell me why the name "FreeBSD" was chosen.  The "Free" in
FreeBSD gives it a really back-room kind of tone that doesn't sound very
professional (IMHO).  I am not trying to bash FreeBSD in anyway, after all,
I use it!

Carl S. Shapiro
"The number one enemy of progress is questions."

From: (Jordan K. Hubbard)
Newsgroups: comp.unix.bsd.freebsd.misc
Subject: Re: FreeBSD, the name
Date: 26 Mar 1995 11:04:11 GMT
Organization: University of California, Berkeley
Lines: 44
Message-ID: <3l3hnb$>
References: <3l204g$>

In article <3l204g$>, Carl S. Shapiro <> wrote:
>	Can someone tell me why the name "FreeBSD" was chosen.  The "Free" in
>FreeBSD gives it a really back-room kind of tone that doesn't sound very
>professional (IMHO).  I am not trying to bash FreeBSD in anyway, after all,
>I use it!

We were trying to get the point across that it was a free operating
system, both in terms of cost and in terms of open development.  People
are free to do whatever they like with it, including getting rich if they
can manage it (more power to 'em!), and this seemed to be the best
way of saying so.  Plus it rhymes rather nicely.. :-)

In retrospect, perhaps this hurt us a bit as people misperceived "free"
as "low quality", but we're working to change that misperception.
Some folks have suggested recently that we change the name to something
even more vile, like "OpenBSD" or "PCBSD", but I don't think that this
would really buy us anything but a heady dose of confusion at this

No, it's far better to simply work on turning people's perceptions
around.  Much as "Apple computer" was widely laughed at in the beginning
as the silliest name for a computer company in history but is now a
household word that nobody thinks twice about, so I think we can manage
to turn FreeBSD towards "brand name" status where people think less about
the words and more about the image that the product brings up in their

Additionally, I think that "free" can be turned back around to connote
"open", "unencumbered", "widely used and developed" and other more
positive meanings of the word free (e.g. from freedom, not no-cost) with
a little work.  I urge all of you to try and bring this home to any
suited types you may happen to talk to about FreeBSD, should the first
mention of the word bring a look of distaste to their faces.  Explain
to them that flexibility, truly open development and the incalculable
resource represented by hundreds (if not thousands) of internetworked
engineers working throughout the world on FreeBSD is *power* in the '90s
business world.  It releases a business from reliance on any one vendor,
it gives them a ready supply of pre-trained talent to hire from
(not a trivial point at all) and it eliminates their resale overhead
should they wish to use it in a product of their own.  Then go on to
say that this is what the "free" in FreeBSD means.  If you look sincere
enough, they may even believe you! :-)


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