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FreeBSD & PC-BSD Handbook Reference Information

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TOC Structure used by PC-BSD

  • Introduction
  • Pre-Installation Tasks
  • Installing PC-BSD
  • Post Installation Configuration and Installation Troubleshooting
  • Advanced Installation Topics
  • Desktops
  • Installing Applications and Keeping PC-BSD® Updated
  • Control-Panel
  • Using PC-BSD®
  • Finding Help
  • Supporting PC-BSD®

TOC Structure used by Free-BSD

Getting Started

  • Introduction
  • Installing FreeBSD
  • Unix Basics
  • Installing Applications - Packages and Ports
  • The X-Window System

Common Tasks

  • Desktop Applications
  • Multimedia
  • Configuring the FreeBSD Kernel
  • Printing
  • Linux Binary Compatibility

System Administration

  • Configuration and Tuning
  • FreeBSD Boot Process
  • Security
  • Jails
  • Mandatory Access Control
  • Security Event Auditing
  • Storage
  • GEOM
  • The Z File system
  • Virtualization
  • Localization
  • Updating and Upgrading
  • Dtrace

Network Communications

  • Serial communications
  • PPP
  • Electronic mail
  • Network servers
  • Firewalls
  • Advanced networking

What characteristics of the FreeBSD & PCBSD websites and handbooks make them helpful and attractive?


  • website:
    • Well laid out, clutter free.
    • Download buttons are present right on home page.
    • Hosted on WordPress (using WP_Emoji plugin)
  • handbook:
    • Nice intuitive navigation pane on left side - (Newer versions allow navigation pane to be toggled out of the way)
    • Clutter free as it only shows one section at a time.
    • Lots of color, bold text, large fonts, lots of screen shots, etc.
    • Breadcrumbs on top, but not on bottom.


  • Handbook -
    • Red text used for hyperlinks
    • grey boxes used to delineate columns of information from each other.
    • Each page has it's own navigational breadcrumbs (top and bottom, left and right)

What can we learn from this?

  • The PCBSD Project is using Sphinx for their handbook.
    • Python Project also uses restructuredtext based Sphinx for their documentation (you'll notice the similarities).
    • Skill level required for contributing to docs project is much lower than it would be for docbook
  • The FreeBSD Project is using Docbook for their handbook.
    • Sun used solbook (derived from docbook). Redhat most likely uses Docbook as well.
    • Skill level required to contribute to docs project is somewhat higher than it would be for restructuredtext based Sphinx.
  • Both projects are hosting their handbooks as static HTML pages.
  • The PCBSD handbook is searchable (uses several javascripts to do this). The FreeBSD handbook is not searchable.