Chapter 4. UNIX Basics

Rewritten by Chris Shumway.
Table of Contents
4.1. Synopsis
4.2. Virtual Consoles and Terminals
4.3. Permissions
4.4. Directory Structure
4.5. Disk Organization
4.6. Mounting and Unmounting File Systems
4.7. Processes
4.8. Daemons, Signals, and Killing Processes
4.9. Shells
4.10. Text Editors
4.11. Devices and Device Nodes
4.12. For More Information

4.1. Synopsis

This chapter covers the basic commands and functionality of the FreeBSD operating system. Much of this material is relevant for any UNIX®-like operating system. New FreeBSD users are encouraged to read through this chapter carefully.

After reading this chapter, you will know:

  • How to use the virtual consoles of FreeBSD.

  • How UNIX® file permissions and FreeBSD file flags work.

  • The default FreeBSD file system layout.

  • The FreeBSD disk organization.

  • How to mount and unmount file systems.

  • What processes, daemons, and signals are.

  • What a shell is, and how to change the default login environment.

  • How to use basic text editors.

  • What devices and device nodes are.

  • How to read manual pages for more information.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <>.

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