Review: GhostBSD 2.0 Beta 2 – A FreeBSD LiveCD

GhostBSD 2.0 – Beta 2 Review

Today I downloaded GhostBSD 2.0.  GhostBSD 2.0 is a live CD that you boot off and your operating system loads to a desktop environment from the CD itself.

It is a CD not a DVD. It was 645.3 MB.  That fits one a single CD.  So it is still small and downloaded rather quickly compared to multi-gigabyte DVD images.

The Good

It didn’t take long to find some good features.

  1. VMWare resolution wasn’t too bad 1280×720.
  2. Decent backgrounds
  3. Thunderbird setup to take your account immediately and the autodetect is cool.
  4. Firefox worked first time.
  5. Has AbiWord and Gnumeric Spreadshet installed.
  6. Has burning software
  7. As a CD ISO, it is still small and downloaded rather quickly compared to multi-gigabyte DVD images.

What Needs works

The first thing that needs work is this review.  I didn’t test much.  I booted, and looked at features, but as I only use a Live CD when something goes terribly wrong and nothing has, I didn’t really do anything too geeky.  So let me just say there is much more to review.  But here are some things I noticed in just my short time clicking away at this.

There wasn’t much bad to speak of that was bad. I had to get nit picky.

  1. There was a problem that delays boot related to the hostname.
  2. No Flash 10 in Firefox, though the linux kernel was there.
  3. Thunderbird is not configured to open links with Firefox by default.
  4. pkg_info shows the pages but says that the package info is corrupt for every package installed.

Other FreeBSD Live CDs

  • Frenzy – A much smaller CD. Here is a quote from the home page: Frenzy is a “portable system administrator toolkit,” LiveCD based on FreeBSD. It generally contains software for hardware tests, file system check, security check and network setup and analysis. Size of ISO-image is 200 MBytes (3″ CD)
  • FreeSBIE – No longer maintained

I didn’t install Frenzy and I have never used it, so I cannot compare it.  However, it is supposedly only 200 MB, which leaves me wondering what it has.

FreeSBIE has been useful in the past, but is no longer maintained.

The Conclusion

GhostBSD 2.0 is the FreeBSD live CD that I currently recommend. I first came across it when it was 1.5, and 2.0 shows it moving forward quite nicely.

Hopes for the future

I do believe there is a place for them to hook into pc-sysinstall and create an installer.  There is not a GNOME-based FreeBSD distribution that I know about, though PC-BSD might add GNOME as an option, but many of the GNOME users would probably jump on this if an installer was built. They may even convert me from KDE to GNOME.


  1. JohninLex says:

    I would like to announce that we have released GhostBSD 2.0. You can install it. It is Free, and it is based off of Freebsd 8.2. Please drop by distrowatch and download it, try it out and stop by the irc channel on freenode network at #GhostBSD.

  2. [...] Jared Barneck has written a quick review: GhostBSD 2.0 Beta 2 – A FreeBSD LiveCD. [...]

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