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Date:      Tue, 3 May 2011 02:44:27 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        "Louis Marrero" <>
Subject:   Re: For My Edification
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <000001cc091a$e041f380$a0c5da80$@com>
References:  <000001cc091a$e041f380$a0c5da80$@com>

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Although others have already given you excellent replies,
I would like to add a few comments.

On Mon, 2 May 2011 18:47:11 -0400, "Louis Marrero" <> wrote:
> Although I am familiar with basic computer operation, I've been trying to
> understand a very experienced programmer friend that mixes Linux/Unix
> terminology in his vocabulary under the assumption that everyone knows the
> language.

You can learn about this terminology, and I can really
encourage you to do so, as it is a neccessary means to
access the professional parts of Linux and UNIX, and if
you want to "be into IT" more deeply, there is no way
around it.

With those basics, you'll be able to access and under-
stand _any_ UNIX(-like) operating system as they share
basics and have many things in common.

> Being familiar only with general knowledge on the Windows XP that I use
> daily, I've gone on the web to find out more information on some of the
> terms used by this programmer, such as "BSD",

Berkeley Software Distribution, from which FreeBSD is
derived. There are other BSDs.

> "shell terminal",

A dialog terminal that runs an interactive shell, a
command-line processor that you use to issue commands
to the system. The term's origin is the "terminal",
a stand-alone device (often called "dumb terminal")
that served the same purpose - communicate with the
computer - without being "a real computer".

> "nc -u",

The netcat utility. On a UNIX system, see "man nc"
(local manual page).

> etc.  Since my friend knows that my computer is strictly MS Windows, when my
> friend writes down something like "In a shell terminal type nc -u
> 5555." it makes me wonder what I'm missing.  

You "miss" understanding of the terminology, that's nothing
bad, as you can easily learn and understand it.

> Here are some questions that can help my understanding:
> 1.         I know that Windows is an OS,

In this mentioning, it refers to a family of operating systems. :-)

> and Linux/Unix as well as FreeBSD
> are other Operating System. 

Correct. There are many Linux (fully correct. GNU/Linux)
distributions, as well as different BSDs and UNIXes.

> My very basic question is this: Is it even
> possible to install a second OS, like FreeBSD on an existing Windows-based
> computer?

That's easily possible. You need to do a proper partitioning
of the hard disk and then install FreeBSD into a free partition.

You can also make use of so-called "Live systems", a thing
not common to "Windows": This is an installed and configured
operating system that you boot from a CD, DVD or USB stick.
You do NOT have to install it.

> 2.         Is it possible to link my Windows laptop to a web server with
> Unix or FreeBSD and exercise Unix/Linux commands.  If so, how is that done?

You don't usually communicate to a web server. A web server
delivers web pages. What you mean is a dialog access, usually
done by SSH. You can use PuTTY (on your "Windows" laptop) to
access a FreeBSD system via SSH. It will show up as a terminal
window to you.

> I'd be grateful for any information.

I may point you to the EXCELLENT documentation online: The
FreeBSD Handbook and the FAQ. Those are QUALITY material
not comparable to anything you find in "Windows" land. If
you're dealing with IT matter, you'll have no problem to
determine _what_ to read. Those resources can be easily
accessed through the FreeBSD web page, but can also used
locally (maybe on systems without Internet or web access).

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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