Recently, I've stumbled upon an interesting question about the difference between Linux and FreeBSD (Why would someone choose FreeBSD over Linux?) and found there a link to this site. I've read that the main difference is that Linux is just a kernel and FreeBSD is a complete OS with many integrated packages in it, that work seamlessly.
So my question is:

Where can I read about those packages, I mean is there some page which lists all packages built into the system?

2 Answers 2


From a system administrator's point of view, FreeBSD is closer to a specific Linux distribution than to Linux in general. The BSD projects each maintain and distribute a set of core software including a kernel, some basic system and networking utilities, a command line interface. Additionally the base system contains some third-party software that is closely integrated with the base system such as Perl.

The difference with a Linux distribution is that Linux distribution maintainers are mostly distinct from Linux utility maintainers. The core system utilities in a Linux distributions come from many sources (kernel, init, GNU or BusyBox core utilities, bash, etc.) whereas BSD distributions each have their own set.

If you want to know what's in the base FreeBSD packages, the best way is to install it (possibly in a VM). Everything in /bin, /lib and /usr is the “base system”; additional third-party software (packages and ports, in BSD terminology) lives in /usr/local. If you don't want to install, you can download the installation archives (base.txz for FreeBSD, e.g. 9.1 i386 base.txz) and look at their content. Alternatively, you can browse the source.

  • 2
    You can go to freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi and look at the sections 1, 6, and 8. There are all the manuals of the commands which come with FreeBSD. Commented Jul 17, 2013 at 8:10

The core FreeBSD is a single collection. With GNU/Linux distributions you'll have the kernel, linux, init, bash and coreutils (for example). Each of which can be at completely different versions and are independent from each other. FreeBSD on the other hand includes a kernel, shell and utilities as a single source repository. Any particular source snapshot will (almost) always be run together.

For a complete list of what is part of the FreeBSD core there's no better place to look than the source.

  • OK, thanks. And is there any user-friendly list, I mean except source? Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 7:43
  • I don't know of any user-friendly list, but, if you navigate on the usr.bin, usr.sbin, bin, sbin and games directories, you will notice that every folder is named with the name of the utility that is on the FreeBSD base.
    – user34720
    Commented Jul 16, 2013 at 13:28

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