SDF Public Access UNIX System, est. 1987

SDF Public Access UNIX System, est. 1987


Username: freeshellorg
Description: Over 20 years on the INTERNET - Multiple border 200mbit connection - SIGs, Music Compilations, VPN, VPS, VoIP and Membership activities - Custer of 10+ DEC Alphas (DS20L) and AMD64 Opteron with ~68 disks / 4TB online of mirrored storage running NetBSD 4.x & 5.x - Members vote in new features and request software updates - Members contribute their own programs and tutorials - 200MB (free), 600MB and 1000MB disk quotas - Over 50 unique Virtual Host VHOST names for e-mail and webhosting - gcc, php, perl, python, clisp, ruby - User configurable email greylisting feature, SSH tunnel / port forwarding - Partnership with Colleges world wide for free, in most cases, remote learning - DSL as well 16,000+ Dialup access (PPP or SHELL) numbers in the USA and Canada - IRC, Jabber XMPP - project - user authored and maintained blogs, photogalleries, forums and more. - Virtual Private Network and Virtual Private Servers with IP4 assignment in our Class C. Supporter of the NetBSD project, The
Category: Free Shells
Member Since: 2009-11-29

Average Rating: 5 / 5
Number of Ratings: 6,094


2015-11-03 12:22:53
No SCP or FTP. This shell sucks.

2015-07-30 12:48:35
Super friendly users, lots of options. The 100% free shell is limited, but allows access to the most used utilities. the ARPA level is a one time payment of $36 USD and provides access to 95% of anything you could want to do on a unix system.

2015-07-30 06:46:20
Absolutely the best. More amenities than actually listed above. Very large community and many many services available. HIGHLY recommended.

2015-07-29 13:07:45
Interesting bunch of people. Good sense of community. One unique feature is a BBS program, which is heavily used.

2015-07-29 06:00:06
Far and away the best shell provider. Many software options. Webspace and gopher hosting also a huge plus.

2015-07-29 05:03:09
Best shell, offers a great track record, and a diverse group of people and services. With an entire cluster of servers and the meta array, the service is always nice and snappy. Could not ask for more! (well, you could, and that would go under bboard requests table.)

2015-04-09 02:38:41
A most enjoyable shell experience, for sure. Funky community with local bulletin board. Fairly solid host for basic command line work and web hosting. The admin is highly responsive.

2015-01-12 19:02:24
Stephen Jones tried to steal my DBA paypal payment. I paid the $30 + a $10 donation. He would not credit me, and he would not respond to my emails. I felt I had no other option than to turn to paypal. I had proof of payment. Then Jones decided to give me the DBA. I sent him a msg telling him everything's ok now. He then turned around without any notice, revoked my DBA and refunded my money.

I've been with sdf since maybe 1999/2000. I signed up for 2 years of the metaArpa in 2012. After what happened with Jones trying to steal my dba money, I decided not to renew the metaArpa especially since I didn't have the mysql I wanted and paid for..

He then locked my out of my ARPA. After several emails, he restored my ARPA, sending me 2 emails: 1 "validating" and "welcoming" me to sdf (I've been there 14-15 years) and 1 email on "Automatic Password Recovery". I don't have a need for APR because I've been using the same password all this time,

Guess what?

Stephen Jones locked me out. I can't get email or anything else. When I try to get my email I get incorrect password msg. I logged on just fine after he "welcomed" me to sdf on 1/8/2015. I had no problems getting email. Then on 1/10 he locked me out.

I've reported him to the FTC and will see if there is any further action I can take.

2014-05-03 23:43:44

2012-08-12 11:03:28
This group is truly amazing for its longevity and the sheer number of services over and above shell access which they provide. A very welcoming community of computer hobbyists, musicians and all sorts of others, a great place to enter the world of UNIX shells.

2011-12-20 01:15:51
Tried several and while there are some providers which can be viewed as equally good, depending on taste, I didn't found any that was better, and all in all SDF continues to be the reference in terms of UNIX shell accounts. The registration process is quite simple, the community interesting and mature, it's a world in itself.

2011-08-12 02:37:44
In this whole list of free shell account providers this is the only one that from direct personal experience I can recommend as basically functional. I have had an account there since around 1999 and it has worked 99% of the time barring a very rare outage or similar non-lasting event. Established. Beats the pants off the likes of Arbornet, Rootshell and Silenceisdefeat and provides far more functionality than the free shells available from where even email cannot be had. This is the benchmark.

2011-07-14 06:46:58
Just awesome!

2011-07-09 06:12:54
Great place!

2011-04-19 23:29:40
I've been a paying member for about ten years through a lot of ups and downs and it has totally been worth it -- if you want to learn and collaborate and do really awesome things, this is hands-down the place to go.

2011-03-27 17:52:49
SDF is great. Try it out yourself!

2011-01-18 13:47:52
SDF has been my "home" since I was a kid (13). The users are friendly and the service is better than any commercial service I've used (and SDF is non-commercial mind you). You just cant go wrong here.

2011-01-14 16:54:49
Nothing but good to say about them. Wonderful, supportive group of users too.

2011-01-13 12:31:30
My shell provider for more than 10 years. It has only gotten better (better HW, faster network, software installs...)

2011-01-12 18:32:33
Lots of utilities. Great service!

2011-01-10 15:25:28
Great resource. Been using it for a decade now.

2011-01-06 05:44:59
Awesome. Gopher!

2011-01-06 02:14:00
Still going strong after 24 years!

2011-01-04 20:21:53
This the the best around. I'am using it since 10 years, frendly community, good tutorials, plenty of freedom

2011-01-04 19:56:00
I've tried several "competitors" and there's no comparison. Incredible uptime, stability, and user autonomy. Just about anything you can imagine is installed, and if not, the sysops take requests in a timely fashion. Really professional.

2011-01-04 12:02:11
rock-solid and reliable during the seven years im using it! new shell accounts limited to keep out spammers etc, small initial fee really worth it. helpful community, excellent for learning unix

2011-01-04 02:46:56
Absolutely fantastic. Nothing else can compare.

2011-01-04 00:19:14
Excellent and one of the oldest and best-admined sites!

2011-01-03 14:44:29
I've been a long time donating member of SDF and it has ALWAYS provided me with reliable service that is constantly evolving.

2011-01-03 14:38:26
Awesome, long running network with TONS of services!

2011-01-03 14:28:30
A dedicated sysadmin keeps making improvements to SDF and is highly responsive to requests.

2011-01-03 14:09:10
best crowd ever!

2010-12-30 00:17:48
I think overall SDF is good and has served me well over the last couple of years.
Im knocking of 1 star because i would like to see SDF evolve as more of a community effort and not something which is only in the control of SMJ.nothing against SMJ and he has been doing a fabulous job but I always worry when things are under one persons control.

2010-12-29 23:25:40
Been around for many years, good community.

2010-12-29 07:15:26
Tons of stuff to play around with, a great community, and trustworthy caretaker. What more can you ask for?

2010-12-28 22:10:41
I use it daily during the last 10 years for my email.

2010-12-28 21:06:57
Member since 2001. Great service, reliability, security and enjoyment.

2010-12-27 19:04:49
SDF is a great shell that has been around for almost 25 years. There is only two other shell providers out there that have been around for something near that amount of time and both are much more limited. SDF provides everything you need, including something that is near impossible to find anywhere else, a nice community with easy ways to communicate with them such as chat rooms and a bbs (forum) that are available from the system to all users without having to open a web-browser or register anywhere else. The active community around SDF is constantly adding new software and working on projects, including anything from games to social networking, where anyone is usually free to pitch in and help or use. Many users are very friendly and helpful, the admin more committed to the project then any other admin I've known (feel free to replace admin with sysop old timers). Users of the MetaARPA rank are able to validate users, skipping the normal $1 charge used to keep spammers away, so sign up, get in com (chat room) makes some friends and get validated that way if you don't want to donate right away.

2010-12-27 18:41:46
Lovely people, fun projects, helpful community and the best admin ever. What more could you want ?

2010-12-27 02:48:05
Pure as the driven snow. Great service by a clueful person. Non-sexist/racist attitude, helpful without being pushy, and definitely worth the little bit of money he asks for a "meta" account. The free accounts are perfectly fine as well. If you love BSD Unix (NetBSD specifically) you'll love having a shell here.

2010-12-26 22:18:45
Oldest player in the field, and still the best.

2010-12-26 19:38:24
I've tried other free shell services but none has, so far, been close to for reliability. The best one there is.

2010-12-26 19:12:48
Been a very happy user since 2005. Looking forward to many more years.

2010-12-26 13:36:37
The best and longest standing shell available. I would be lost without the services here too.

2010-12-25 15:38:08
Been a regular paying member for nearly 10 years. I think that says everything, about how happy I am with the services SDF provides, and how accommodating the admin is. Thoroughly recommended.

2010-12-24 13:33:38
By far the best and longest running shell provider out there. Not entirely free, but given the longevity and robustness of the system and the community...the trivial costs involved are well worth the various services available.

2010-12-24 06:10:47
I have been a member of this freeshell since 1999 and I've been very happy with it.

2010-12-24 04:32:35
I've tried several free UNIX shell accounts out there, and I have to say that SDF has the most features of any of them, the lowest cost of any shell for 'extra' services, and the friendliest community and admin around. Highly recommend!!

2010-12-24 03:13:06

A completely useful shell account for free.

If you wish to pay a tiny fee, you have a more featueful, lifetime, shell.

The higher level services, like DNS and hosting, are well within the market rates for such.

AFAICT, everything you could want to do via shell you could do via a shell.

Also, if you like point-n-click bulletin boards, you have that along with webmail.

2010-12-23 20:40:25
SDF is the best free unix shell :-)

2010-12-23 15:18:01
I tried many of shell account providers and freeshell is the only that lasted.

2010-12-23 08:57:21
great community.

2010-12-22 23:21:58
SDF is simply brilliant

2010-12-22 23:05:41
I have been a member for several years and I have always received the support I needed from the community. I am quite happy with it.

2010-12-22 18:26:18
Great active community,, very diverse interests.

2010-12-22 18:25:09
Not in the top five? You have to be joking!

2010-12-22 06:10:48
SDF is the best shell provider out there. It is perfectly maintained by their system administrator and their services they provide are AAA that can't be matched from other shell providers.

2010-12-22 03:33:09
Seriously, how can you think there is a better shell offer?

2010-12-22 02:13:47
Freeshell is an awesome community with knowledgeable, friendly members.

2010-12-22 01:59:28
A public system for smart Unix hackers.

2010-12-22 01:47:00
Happy SDF user for a year now. It's an intelligent, friendly and varied community, and they keep trying out new services and writing and installing new software to do new things. Current examples are voip with sip, and a URL shortening service with bookmarks which can be edited from the shell and/or scripts.

Many of the more advanced features do depend on an ARPA lifetime membership - currently $US36 - which I have paid. Well worth it in value to me, as well as supporting the system and community.

2010-12-21 22:41:33
Excelent professional quality service. It has been around a long time which gives me great confidence.

2010-12-21 22:07:47
SDF is the only place of its kind on the Internet, since it is both a service and a comunity. Check it out.

2010-12-21 21:38:52
I've used SDF ( for about a decade. Truly one of the best services and communities on the Internet.

2010-12-21 21:31:11
I have been a heavy user of this system for almost a decade and I haven't found anything else on the internet that even approaches its level of service and professionalism.

2010-12-21 20:41:28
SDF is, by far, the BEST shell service that can be used. The community is made up of members who are more than willing to help each other out and assist new people. It has been, and always will be, completely non-commercialized.

2010-12-21 19:27:20
Excellent service. Good community. Tons of features and solid uptime. On the rare occassion things go wrong, there's a quick response to get everything running again. Couldn't be happier.

Besides, where else can you get gopher?

2010-12-21 17:40:19
Now better known simply as SDF.ORG - I've been here since 2002 and have never felt the need to go anyplace else.

2010-12-21 17:14:28
great uptime and quick response to install requests and problem reports. Very pleased user here.

2010-12-21 17:11:43
Solid Shell, run by a benevolent dictator. Deal with it.

2010-12-21 16:25:31
SDF is truely a great service, its members are friendly and helpful, and the comunity is like no other. On system bbs and chat makes it easy to interact with other users. The tier system keeps the service comercial free, and the system has everything you need, if it doesn't, just ask and it will be added.

2010-12-21 15:54:52
Great resource and populated by intelligent and mature users!

2010-12-21 15:25:04

2010-12-21 15:15:03
A great service, a functional but limited free Unix shell account with full shell access available at a modest price.

2010-12-21 13:48:42
It's not only a shell-access but kind of shell-based social network. great!

2010-12-21 12:41:47
Best free shell account, in every respect... for more than twenty years! Of course it is not perfect, but I tried many other shell accounts (including non-free ones) and SDF/ is clearly the best one.

2010-12-21 10:28:03
Unique. For a small yearly fee (for MetaARPA membership), you get a vast amount of tools and features not available except by running your own VPS. Oh, and they do VPS's too.

Helpful and interesting community, too.

2010-12-21 09:29:40
Very happy user since 2005.

2010-12-21 09:10:58
Very stable with long periods of uptime. Choice of shell, and many tools available with the ability to request install new programs and versions.

2010-12-21 08:45:57
I've been using it for years and I can't fault the service.

2010-12-21 08:33:00
stability, community, administration

2010-12-21 06:37:00
My $HOME away from home!

2010-12-21 05:17:44
I've been using SDF since 2001 and I'm nothing but pleased with the service. Stable servers, intelligent community, responsive admin, constantly evolving new features (recent offerings include VPS and SIP)'s a great combination that's hard to beat.

2010-12-21 04:31:08
Never had any problems with this site or the admins who run it. It's a great service that I use quite frequently, and I don't know what I would do without it.

2010-12-21 03:07:30
The best of the classic Bulletin Board Systems and much, much more. There's no other computing and learning resource quite like this: relatively kidiot free and a dedicated user base of old-school g33ks who write their own code.

2010-12-21 02:40:16
I've used going on seven years now. I host my web site there and do some development via the shell. I've never experienced a downtime. Whenever I've needed a new module or program installed, it happens very quickly. (I've had other web hosts that I've paid a pretty penny to that took days to fix problems.) The users at are always exploring new technology, so if you like playing with state-of-the-art ways to interface with cyberspace, this is the place for you (and there's also a portion of the community that tinkers with vintage computing as well!). And if none of that satisfies you, drop on by for the feel of the ol' BBS days as there is a great community of users to interact with.

2010-12-21 02:07:14
The best

2010-12-21 01:31:30
Not just a super shell, but a way of life.

2010-12-21 00:56:20
I've been member since a few years, no money has been stolen from me, and the sysadmin has been very helpful.
There are even validation waivers some times.
If you want to learn unix or need a rock solid shell offer, this is one of your best choices.

2010-12-21 00:47:43
existing since 1987, with free shell access and additional paid memberships (highest level $3/month), running NetBSD

2010-10-03 18:17:37
The SDF admin Stephen M. Jones happily pocketed my money for a "lifetime" account.

After two months, he cancelled my account with no prior notice and without any explanation. I had always followed the site rules religiously, and NEVER caused any trouble.

He is also known to cause deliberate malfunction and to censor message board posts that he disagrees with.

Be warned: never make the mistake to give *any* money to this person, ever!

2010-07-23 12:00:38
This is a great site if it fits what you want.

2010-05-03 21:55:42
This is a great shell service in my opinion.

Happy user since 2005

2010-04-29 23:31:23
Free account only for 100 days

2010-04-27 10:43:03
Good site.

2010-04-24 19:51:48
I'd rather have at least a little freedom in a shell account than a trip to some old museum

2010-04-22 16:19:10
Almost nothing available to you as a free... Like many other ssh this is a joke compared to modern tech

2010-04-17 03:25:53
Excellent community

2010-04-07 02:02:41
Sorry to say, but in my eyes its a very big disadvantage, that IRC is allowed only on weekends for free users.

2010-02-12 01:04:29
Member for about a year now. Well satisfied.

2010-02-09 20:10:15
sdf account for 7 years. superb.

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