Ghostbsd Review12 Oct 2022
Sometimes, you’ve got to feel bad for BSD. Despite being a mature, well developed project with an amazing community and tons of development, it has less than a 0.01% desktop market share. It’s constantly beaten by Linux in the usability and hardware support departments. There’s not much that the already overworked FreeBSD team can do to support the proprietary firmware required by Intel, AMD, & Nvidea, but, there’s still a lot of work that can be done in terms of usability. Now, FreeBSD isn’t ever going to have an official ISO with a super noob-friendly desktop environment and installer, but GhostBSD certainly will. But does in deliver?
GhostBSD installs just like every single modern Linux distro. You boot the live USB, are taken to a live desktop, and then there’s a bog-standard Calamares installer. It was over in about 15 minutes, and required no skill at all to use. Perfect for someone’s first jump into UNIX.
I was astounded at just how efficient GhostBSD was. I’m used to Mate desktops using about 500-600MB of RAM, but GhostBSD, with all its bells and whistles rarely ever went over 300MB without any apps open. The CPU was pretty good too. There’s not a whole lot to write home about, but it almost never used more than 5-9% unless I opened Firefox, Transmission, or a similarly bloated application.
I was quite impressed with GhostBSD’s boot speed as well. On my pretty slow HHD, in a virtual machine, it still managed to boot relatively fast. It only took 26 seconds. That’s almost 10 seconds faster than my Fedora laptop, and approaching my super minimal Void machine. That’s an A+ in my book.
GhostBSD chose the Mate desktop environment, the perfect choice for the user-friendly, lightweight distro that GhostBSD aims to be. And by god, it’s one of the most beautiful Mate desktop iterations that I’ve ever seen. It sticks to the traditional panel layout, but makes use of the Vimix theme & Qogir icons to make MATE a little easier on the eyes. It’s not quite as heavily riced as Ubuntu Mate, but I think that’s the point.
GhostBSD has very sane software choice. There’s only 7 non-mate GUI applications, and most of them are pretty useful.
All 7 of these are pretty great applications to have in general. I’d personally get rid of Shotwell & Plank, but I’m sure that there are quite a few people that appreciate their addition. Other than that, GhostBSD just comes with all of the regular Mate apps that one would expect from a fairly minimal distribution. That being said, basically all daily tasks can be done without ever having to open up the terminal and install anything.
GhostBSD is pretty great. In many ways, it’s like the original Ubuntu of the BSD family. It takes a complicated, clunky, and unfamiliar operating system and makes it accessible for the average person. It may not be perfect, and it has a long way to go before it can compete with a lot of the heavy hitters in the Linux space, but I think that GhostBSD defiantly has potential to turn a lot of people twords an operating system that they would not ordinarily consider.
So, if you’re interested, you can download GhostBSD at the link below.