A collection of FreeBSD desktop distributions that have taken the FreeBSD operating system in a new direction while still relying on the incredibly powerful and stable base operating system of FreeBSD. From integrated desktop environments, portable USB-based systems, to data recovery tools, FreeBSD has been used by a wide variety of open-source projects. This page hopes to highlight just a few of these projects:

 

 

FuryBSD:

Novice to Advanced Users

Project Website

“FuryBSD is a brand new, open source FreeBSD desktop. FuryBSD pays homage to desktop BSD projects of the past like PC-BSD and TrueOS with its graphical interface and adds additional tools like a live, hybrid USB / DVD image.” 

 

What Makes FuryBSD Unique

 

System attributes:

 

  • A deployment vessel including:
    • Stock FreeBSD
    • Freebsd-update, pkg, bsdconfig, bsdinstall
    • Firefox
    • XFCE desktop environment
  • Small 1.8GB download size
  • Adds a live, hybrid USB / DVD image to stock FreeBSD
  • A read write filesystem that verifies the hardware works before committing to disk.
  • Minimizes disk commitment.
  • Automatically installs a graphical desktop environment.
  • Pristine copy of FreeBSD, allowing the system to continue updating FreeBSD tools.
  • Allows for the configuration of devices  for mass deployments. Automation with possible configuration for each step.
  • Latest patchset is updated quarterly, so users don’t have to update using freebsd-update.
    • The build system uses poudriere image to ensure the jail is up to date.
  • Offers .iso media including RELEASE + freebsd-update patches.
  • If FuryBSD depreciates, system can still be used by updating FreeBSD.

 

User-end attributes:

 

  • Boots the user directly to desktop of choice, connects to network automatically (ethernet), or provides a tool to make connecting to wifi easier.
    • Minimizes the need for a potentially confusing set up process for novice users.
  • Includes an Xorg tool to allow users to try various driver combinations without having to install each one.
    • Allows for various combinations of drivers without having to test each one.
  • Every user change is saved unless the system is rebooted without installing.
  • Recently released their own forum for FuryBSD users.

 

Notable Future Plans:

 

  • Creating more documentation for the project, focused on how to get started and troubleshooting any possible issues.
  • Out of box printing support
  • A way to load 3rd party drivers and wireless adaptors.
  • More default applications to provide a broader desktop experience.
  • Continuous integration for application updates.
  • A custom pkg repo

 

MidnightBSD:

Novice – Advanced Users

 

Project Website

“MidnightBSD is a BSD-derived operating system developed with desktop users in mind. It includes all the software you’d expect for your daily tasks — email, web browsing, word processing, gaming, and much more.”

 

 

What Makes MidnightBSD Unique:

 

System attributes:

 

  • New window and login manager.
  • Initially forked from FreeBSD 6.1 beta.
    • In order to allow customization of ports and system configuration.
    • Includes syncs from later FreeBSD versions.
  • Fully integrated environment with a focus on stability and optimization for desktop users.
  • Scheduling, allocation, security, and app support are uniquely tailored for desktop users.
  • Less emphasis on server optimization.
  • Includes a range of tools and utilities, including:
    • ZFS
    • hast
    • OpenSSH
    • Perl
  • Imported features from DragonFlyBSD/OpenBSD/NetBSD
  • Improved security with ipfw and sudo.

 

User-end attributes:

 

  • New window and login manager.
  • Centralized system preferences.
  • Emphasis on easy to use graphical interfaces for new users.
  • BSD styled command line.
  • Graphical ports and package manager.
  • Large user community, including mailing lists and community forums.
  • Extensive documentation
  • Bugzilla for troubleshooting.

 

Notable Future Plans:

 

  • Expanded security capabilities.
  • Rewriting the package cluster system.
  • Maintaining and updating ports.

 

 

GhostBSD:

Novice – Advanced Users

 

Project Website

“GhostBSD is a simple, user-friendly operating system, based on the legendary security and stability of the FreeBSD operating system. GhostBSD provides all the benefits of the FreeBSD operating system combined with a focus on simplicity for newcomers.”

 

 

What Makes GhostBSD Unique:

 

System attributes:

 

  • Maintains the stability and security of FreeBSD
  • Optimized for modern workstations, desktop setups.
  • Massively simplified
  • Free and Open with source code on GitHub
  • Optimized codecs for multimedia files.
  • Project release as well as community releases.
  • A GhostBSD package repository with 30,000+ applications.
  • Slow moving rolling release
    • Can be updated by command line.
  • Switched to TrueOS in 2018
    • Built from 12.0-STABLE
    • TrueOS depreciated in 2020

 

User-end attributes:

 

  • Shipped with a simplified installer.
  • Choice between desktop environments.
  • Comes with pre-installed commonly used software.
  • Robust community controlled wiki.
  • Easy to contribute to the project/report bugs.
  • Community has full control of the GhostBSD community releases.
  • Community forums for GhostBSD and FreeBSD questions/discussion.

 

Notable Future Plans:

 

  • Possibility of a community release around the plasma5 desktop.
  • Movement towards a rolling release schedule.
  • Post TrueOS development.

 

NomadBSD:

Novice – Advanced Users

Project Website

“NomadBSD is a persistent live system for USB flash drives, based on FreeBSD. Together with automatic hardware detection and setup, it is configured to be used as a desktop system that works out of the box, but can also be used for data recovery, for educational purposes, or to test FreeBSD’s hardware compatibility.”

 

What Makes NomadBSD Unique:

 

System attributes:

 

  • Extremely low system requirements.
    • Can be run by computers with a 1.2GHz CPU and 1GB of RAM.
  • A fully integrated desktop environment optimized by the operating system.
  • Further executable programs with some settings adjustments.
  • Requires a more advanced USB, USB3 preferred.
  • The desktop environment is curated specifically for the OS.
  • Tons of support for using the OS as a test environment.
  • Minimal size while including a curated collection of applications.
  • Automatic hardware detection and setup.
  • Because of the boot process, can be used for data recovery.
  • Small development team, more unified vision.
  • Uses a live USB, allowing changes to be saved to a portable system.

 

End-user attributes:

 

  • Automated, simplified setup with limited device configuration.
  • Can serve as a tool for FreeBSD developers. (testing/data recovery)
  • Focus on easy to use, guided computing.
  • Innovative desktop features
  • New community forums created in March 2020
  • Extremely portable due to size/live USB setup