Health Check: FreeBSD - "The unknown giant"
FreeBSD is the most accessible and popular of the BSDs, has code at the heart of Darwin and Apple's OS X, and has powered some of the more successful sites on the Web, including Hotmail, Netcraft and Yahoo!, which before the rise of Google was the busiest site on the internet.
FreeBSD rose from the ashes of 386BSD, the original effort to port BSD to the Intel chip, and claims a code lineage that reaches back to Bill Joy's Berkeley Software Distribution of the late seventies. The 386BSD port was begun in 1989 by Bill and Lynne Jolitz, and was destined to be the original free Unix-like operating system for the IBM PC. The first public release of 386BSD (Version 0.0) was on St. Patrick's Day, 1991, accompanied by a series of articles in Dr Dobbs journal, which documented the process.
The first functional release of 386BSD was Version 0.1, which was released on Bastille Day, 1992.
FreeBSD emerged in 1993, after the self-imposed task of supporting 386BSD on their own had proved too much for Bill and Lynne Jolitz. The patchkit which had been the underpinning for the BSD port to the 386 was revived and became the basis for the first FreeBSD release.