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Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD, sometimes called Berkeley Unix) is the Unix operating system derivative developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1977 to 1995.

BSD pioneered many of the advances of modern computing. Berkeley's Unix was the first Unix to include libraries supporting the Internet Protocol stacks: Berkeley sockets. By integrating sockets with the Unix operating system's file descriptors, it became almost as easy to read and write data across a network as it was to access a disk. The AT&T laboratory eventually released their own STREAMS library, which incorporated much of the same functionality in a software stack with a better architecture, but the wide distribution of the existing sockets library, together with the unfortunate omission of a function call for polling a set of open sockets equivalent to the select call in the Berkeley library, reduced the impact of the new API. Early versions of BSD were used to form Sun Microsystems' SunOS, founding the first wave of popular Unix workstations.

Today, BSD continues to be used as a testbed for technology by academic organizations, as well as finding uses in a lot of commercial and free products and, increasingly, in embedded devices. The general quality of its source code, as well as its documentation (especially reference manual pages, commonly referred to as man pages), make it well-suited for many purposes.

The permissive nature of the BSD license allows companies to distribute derived products as proprietary software without exposing source code and sometimes intellectual property to competitors. Searching for strings containing "University of California, Berkeley" in the documentation of products, in the static data sections of binaries and ROMs, or as part of other information about a software program, will often show BSD code has been used. This permissiveness also makes BSD code suitable for use in open source products, and the license is compatible with many other open source licenses.

BSD operating systems can run much native software of several other operating systems on the same architecture, using a binary compatibility layer. Much simpler and faster than emulation, this allows, for instance, applications intended for Linux to be run at effectively full speed. This makes BSDs not only suitable for server environments, but also for workstation ones, given the increasing availability of commercial or closed-source software for Linux only. This also allows administrators to migrate legacy commercial applications, which may have only supported commercial Unix variants, to a more modern operating system, retaining the functionality of such applications until they can be replaced by a better alternative.

Current BSD operating system variants support many of the common IEEE, ANSI, ISO, and POSIX standards, while retaining most of the traditional BSD behavior. Like AT&T Unix, the BSD kernel is monolithic, meaning that device drivers in the kernel run in privileged mode, as part of the core of the operating system.


Resource: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSD
Posted By : Sharetips
On date : 05.30.08

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BSD Technology Details
Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD, sometimes called Berkeley Unix) is the Unix operating system derivative developed and distributed by the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of California, Berkeley, from 1977 to 1995.
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