GhostBSD is an open source and advanced distribution of BSD specifically crafted for the i386 (Athlon and Pentium) and amd64 (Athlon 64, Opteron, EM64T) compatible architectures. It is based on FreeBSD and provides users with a user-friendly desktop operating system.

Being based on the FreeBSD project, GhostBSD borrows its next-gen package management system, the Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice office suite apps, LibreCAD, as well as the Eclipse and Anjuta development environments for C, C++, JavaScript, Java, Python and Vala programming.

Distributed as 64-bit and 32-bit DVDs

It is distributed as live ISO and IMG images for both 64-bit and 32-bit architectures. While the ISO images can be written to blank DVD discs, the IMG files can be easily deployed on USB flash drives.

Boot options à la FreeBSD

Like any other BSD distribution, GhostBSD provides users with three important boot options. While the first one, and also the default entry, will allow you to boot into a multi user environment, the second one lets users to boot into a single user environment, and the third one will drop users to a shell prompt.

Besides the ability to reboot the system, the boot menu also enables advanced users to configure various boot options, such as to enable or disable ACPI support, safe and verbose modes, as well as to activate single user mode or load the default settings.

MATE is the default desktop environment

The live session of this custom GhostBSD edition is powered by MATE, a fork of the classic GNOME 2 window manager, which provides users with a traditional desktop environment comprised of two panels.

Default applications

Default applications include the LibreOffice office suite (Draw, Calc, Base, Impress and Writer), Mozilla Firefox web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird email client, Pidgin multi-protocol instant messenger, XChat IRC client, Transmission torrent downloader, Shotwell image viewer and organizer, and GIMP image editor.

Another interesting application is SpiderOak, which allows users to securely and privately synchronize, backup and share their data across multiple computers. The popular VLC Media Player and Rhythmbox applications are also installed, along with all the MATE apps.

Bottom line

During our tests, GhostBSD MATE proved to be a strong operating system. It features a dark theme, beautiful fonts, as well as a collection of hand picked open source applications. Whether you know your way around BSD systems or not, you should give GhostBSD a try today!