GhostBSD – Not Ready (Or I’m Not Ready)

So I spent hours at this today. Too much time, but I wanted to give this a fair shot. I can’t say whether GhostBSD is “not ready” for the desktop or whether I’m simply not ready for a desktop BSD, but I suspect it’s the latter, since it offers a lot of the same great things that many good Linux distros offer, including a nice graphical installer, minimal Xfce (or MATE) desktop, LibreOffice, a good choice of web browsers and very modern applications.

Tested on a very modest Dell Latitude laptop with Intel Duo-Core 2.00 GHz processor and 4 GB of RAM, wifi was never detected, even with my handy USB wifi adapter from ThinkPenguin. And the network manager interface didn’t even offer wifi as an option, even after updating over a wired connection, which brought me to a pre-release version of the next release. This is a rolling-release OS, so as expected, some of the software and configs may be troublesome until they mature on FreeBSD (on which GhostBSD is based). Hardware compatibility issues are very likely with much newer software on a pretty old relic like my laptop.

Updating took a lonnnnnnnng time, and absolutely every part of the process was incredibly slow. This might have been a slow Internet connection at their server for all I know, but I did find that netweork speed was much slower on Ghost than on any Linux distro I’ve ever used.

GhostBSD offers a nice graphical way to install software with over 30,000 titles to choose from! Massive repositories are available to FreeBSD users, which is awesome! Seamonkey was not among them, nor were some of the proprietary browsers you find in many Linux repositories. Seamonkey is considered “abandonware” by the maintainers of FreeBSD.

I found that as slow as it was, I could only add software titles one at a time. Selecting more than one or two would lock up the installer and bring my CPU to maximum and just leave it there for 45 minutes until I rescued it – by rebooting, since there wasn’t any way to even close the damned unresponsive Software Station.

If you don’t know what an application is by it’s name (it’s FreeBSD name, that is), you can mouse over it for a very brief “description” of it’s function. I would have gotten screenshots rather than pics from a camera phone, but the Xfce screenshooter isn’t included by default and wouldn’t install because it was part of a large batch of packages I selected before clicking “Apply” and locking it up. Very few USB utilities are offered in spite of the huge selection of excellent software. The Software Station, as it’s called in GhostBSD, is searchable, and I did discover some very cool stuff in there. I just don’t have hours and hours to download and install it over that stupidly slow connection. May as well just do dial-up for cry’n out loud. It also surprised my greatly that you don’t have to be root to install software! You have to be root to access certain software after installation, but not to install it.

GhostBSD is very sparse and minimal out of the box, deliberately so I’m sure. With no updates and installation programs running, it was pretty darn fast, but not as nimble, it seems to me, as MX-Linux, Debian, or Xubuntu. On those I can multi-task like crazy, select a zillion and twelve packages in Synaptic to install, and surf and chat and listen to music while they download and install.

Linux has really spoiled me I guess. But probably the best implementation of BSD ever is – MacOS!

9 thoughts on “GhostBSD – Not Ready (Or I’m Not Ready)

  1. Pet peeve of mine, when I don’t even get a screenshot app right away. Because that’s what I always do when I review a distro: make a screenshot of the fresh system right outta the box. Even worse when not even the Print key gives me a screenshot. And no wifi detection? Fail! Delete the crap!
    And everything goes slowly? Holy Jeebuz on a 2-stroke moped, what kinda software is that bad?

    Maybe I’m a spoiled brat. No, not maye but I am aspoiled brat for sure. And that is for a reason: in 2019 we have truly enough easy peasy comfortable and fast Linux distros with as many bells and whistles as we fancy, truly user friendly stuff. Until BSD is on that level they’ll have to do without my friendly matronage. :/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And Robin: GO DO YOUR HOMEWORK! It’ll be good for you and a much more sensible thing to do anyway.
      An don’t forget to eat your veggies, man. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Just gave GhostBSD a try on an old Dell Latitude laptop I have and it runs faster than anything I’ve thrown at it, including Linux distros. It’s got an old NVidia card that is pretty much unsupported by Linux at this point and installing the driver in GhostBSD was fast and easy. I’m seriously impressed with it. BSD is a great change and there is a crapton of software

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Up until now, GhostBSD was an epic failure on an my PCs and Macs. The major exception was PC-BSD 7.1. The beloved, stable and reliable PC-BSD 7.1 which ran so well on my netbooks (Acer Aspire One and Samsung NC10, both of which run Linux Mint 19.3 and NomadBSD 1.3.1 very well) sporting a humble Intel Atom N270 processor.
    Macs presented a problem with the MBR booting scheme, even with ReFit the boot-manager.
    But recently I got NomadBSD 1.3.1 and GhostBSD in latest incarnation to boot from external storage using the UEFI bootloader. Loving it. Linux has been my constant companion since 1999. I was blinded by the Mac light in 2010. MacOS is a UNIX as of 2003, albeit a UNIX ashamed of itself. If no one understands this yet, then why would anyone use Home Brew or MacPorts to install traditional UNIX tools and software. MacOS does not even allow for virtual terminals–, at least last time I attempted to do so.
    Credit where credit due. MacOS is stable, clean and well-supported. …but many times (in my case) stops you from doing things….Apple Inc. wants to sell you over-priced watches and services that turn you into a captive user.
    BSD, Linux all this open-source…compliments to the devs who work on this stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PC-BSD closed down, and there is now a linux-based successor named Trident, taking zfs to the linux desktop.

    Another graphic BSD has gone down recently, namely Fury.

    MidnightBSD is a kind of fence-sitter between today and tomorrow… oops…it is difficult to guess whither it goes, and it uses its own (small) port collection; I do not know whether FeeBSD port can be compiled and run on Midnight.


  5. Welll, it’s been more than a year now since I tried it. I looked at MidnightBSD – literally just looked at it from a distance – and it looks like it’s pretty troublesome based on posts to their forums. So I’m downloading the latest ISO of GhostBSD again. Why the heck am I still even thinking about BSD, anyway? Well because…

    Freakin’ evil Microsoft has intruded so deeply into Linux now that I simply don’t trust Linux anymore. And you’ve got RedHat and Canonical literally jumping in bed with freakin’ evil Microsoft. Between that and the whole systemd thing, I’m just wanting to put as much distance between myself and that evil sewage as possible. So, another review coming up soon!


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