You might have heard about FreeBSD which is ultimately derived from UNIX back in the days. It is not Linux even though it is similar in many ways because Linux was designed to follow UNIX principles. Seeing is believing, so check out the video of the install and some apps as well!
Nowadays if you want some of that BSD on your personal desktop how to go about? Well there is a full package or distro called GhostBSD which is based on FreeBSD current with a Mate or XFCE desktop preconfigured. I did try another package called TrueOS before and you can check out my blog post as well.
Let’s give it a try on my Lenovo ThinkPad T410. You can download the latest version from ghostbsd.org. Creating a bootable USB drive was surprisingly difficult as rufus did not work and created a corrupted drive. You have to follow this procedure under Windows: download the 2.5GB .iso file and rename the extension to .img. Download Win32 Disk imager and burn the img file to an USB drive and boot from it. You will be able to start a live session and use the onboard setup to install GhostBSD unto a disk.
I did encounter some bugs or quirks along the way. The installer failed the first time for some unknown reason but worked on the second attempt. The first boot stopped upon initialization of the USB3 ports (the T410 does not have USB3) but I could use some ‘exit’ command line magic to continue. The second boot worked fine. Audio was only available through headphones, not speakers but that could partially be fixed using the command line again. Lot’s of installed apps did not show up in the start menu and on goes the quirks list.
Overall it is still better than TrueOS for me because drivers did work very well and I could address most of the existing bugs.
On the upside:
- Free and open source FreeBSD package ready to go
- Mate or XFCE desktop (Mate is the only option for daily builds)
- Drivers work fine including LAN, WiFi, video 2D & 3D, audio, etc
- UFS or ZFS advanced file systems available
- Less driver and direct app support than Linux
- Installer and desktop have some quirks and bugs
- App-store is cumbersome, inferior to TrueOS
Thanks for reading! You can check out more of this blog or my YouTube channel.