'When I began work on the FreeBSD 12.1-RELEASE review last week, it
didn't take long to figure out that the desktop portion wasn't going
I think it's important for BSD-curious users to know of easier,
gentler alternatives, so I did a little looking around and settled on
GhostBSD for a follow-up review.
GhostBSD is based on TrueOS, which itself derives from FreeBSD Stable.
It was originally a Canadian distro, but—like most successful
distributions—it has transcended its country of origin and can now be
considered worldwide. Significant GhostBSD development takes place now
in Canada, Italy, Germany, and the United States.
The history of desktop-oriented BSD distros is a turbulent one. For
several years, Kris Moore's PC-BSD was the go-to for "I want BSD, but
I also want a ready-to-go desktop." Eventually, ixSystems—home of the
FreeNAS storage distro, and the company Moore is vice president of
engineering for—came to rely heavily on the server-side features
developed into PC-BSD.
The need at ixSystems for the foundation of PC-BSD without the
associated desktop led to a rename and a fork. PC-BSD's underpinnings
became TrueOS, and the desktop-friendly distribution—now based on
TrueOS—became Project Trident.
This state of affairs didn't last long. A year later, Project Trident
declared unhappiness with TrueOS and BSD in general—mostly due to
hardware support, or lack thereof. In January 2020, Trident rebased
itself on Void Linux, which its developers found to be "the most
BSD-like" of the potential Linux upstream distros they examined.
Project Trident's departure for more Linux-y waters left several
potential contenders for a desktop-focused BSD distribution. These
include FuryBSD, MidnightBSD, DesktopBSD, and GhostBSD itself.
I've tested PC-BSD fairly extensively in the past but have no history
with any of the current desktop BSD choices. I chose GhostBSD for a
first look, solely due to its prominence in Google search results for
"desktop BSD distro."'
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174