Open source operating system FreeBSD has been upgraded to include improved security and networking features intended to make it a better platform for running websites.
FreeBSD is an advanced BSD Unix operating system for PC-compatible computers, and is widely used on internet or intranet servers. It is used by organisations ranging from Sony, Hotmail and MP3.com to service providers such as Uunet, ClaraNet and France Telecom.
FreeBSD 4.1, released this week, has kernel changes to provide improved IPSec (internet protocol security) functionality and an enhanced protocol stack for the next-generation internet protocol, IPv6. With the release, FreeBSD can now be used on an IPv6 only network for the first time.
Support for USB (universal serial bus) devices has been added to the kernel and to the installation programs, allowing easier support for peripherals that support the standard.
In addition, support for Intel's Wired for Management 2.0 (PXE) has been added to the FreeBSD boot loader. This allows network booting using DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol), which enables central management of the allocation of IP addresses on an organisation's network.
An open source flavour of the Secure Shell protocol, which allows secure access to a remote computer, has also been upgraded within the release. This allows users to get away from needed to license cryptographic toolkits.
Jon Collins, a senior analyst at Bloor Research, said: "FreeBSD has very much a cult status and people that use it think it is brilliant. However, of all the open source operating systems it was Linux that caught the imagination.
"Linus Torvalds has understated charisma and he was able to project the operating system as being more than just hard to understand technology."
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