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This document aims to cover the most frequently asked questions concerning the GhostBSD operating system. Although originally intended to reduce bandwidth and avoid the same old questions being asked over and over again, FAQs have become recognized as valuable information resources.

Every effort has been made to make this FAQ as informative as possible; if you have any suggestions as to how it may be improved, please feel free to contact us.


What is GhostBSD?[edit]

Briefly, GhostBSD is a UNIX®-like operating system. It works on AMD64 and Intel® platforms. GhostBSD is based on FreeBSD, which is based on U.C. Berkeley’s “4.4BSD-Lite” release, with some “4.4BSD-Lite2” enhancements. It is also based indirectly on William Jolitz’s port of U.C. Berkeley’s “Net/2” to the i386, known as “386BSD”, though very little of the 386BSD code remains. At this time, GhostBSD provides MATE desktop as default version, and a community release with XFCE desktop.

You will get more information here

On which FreeBSD branch is GhostBSD based on?[edit]

GhostBSD is based on the FreeBSD 13.0-STABLE branch.

The differences between GhostBSD and FreeBSD you will find here.

Who can use GhostBSD?[edit]

GhostBSD can be used by companies, researchers, data scientists, computer professionals, students, and home users all over the world in their work, education, and recreation.

What is the goal of the GhostBSD Project?[edit]

The goal of the GhostBSD Project is to combine the ease of use of a set of GTK desktops with security and flexibility of the underlying FreeBSD mechanisms. GhostBSD is a great tool to learn FreeBSD and start one’s adventure in the BSD world. GhostBSD may be used for any purpose and without strings attached.

Does the GhostBSD license have any restrictions?[edit]

Yes. Those restrictions do not control how you use the code, merely how you treat the GhostBSD Project itself. If you have serious license concerns, read the actual license. For the simply curious, the license can be summarized like this:

  • Do not claim that you wrote this.
  • Do not sue us if it breaks.

Can GhostBSD replace my current operating system?[edit]

For most users, yes.

Most people do not actually use an operating system. They use applications, as these are what really makes a computer useful. GhostBSD is designed to provide a desktop and full-featured environment for applications. It supports a wide variety of web browsers, office suites, email readers, graphics programs, programming environments, network servers, and just about everything else you might want. Most of these applications can be built using the FreeBSD Ports Collection.

If you need to use an application that is only available on one operating system, you cannot easily replace that operating system (this situation is referred to as vendor lock-in). However chances are that there is a very similar application on GhostBSD, however. If you want a solid office or internet server, a reliable workstation, or just the ability to do your job without interruptions, GhostBSD will almost certainly do everything you need.

If you are migrating to GhostBSD from some other UNIX®-like environment, you already know most of what you need to know. If your background is in graphic-driven operating systems such as Microsoft Windows® and older versions of MacOS®, expect to invest additional time learning the UNIX way of doing things.

Why is it called GhostBSD?[edit]

GhostBSD was developed as an operating system to hack on Gnome using BSD technology. After a while it became what was referred to as “Gnome hosted by BSD”, which means that Gnome is hosted on the FreeBSD system. Now that we support multiple GTK desktops it is more accurate to call it "GTK hosted by BSD".

What is the latest version of GhostBSD?[edit]

At this point in time, we are at version with Mate Desktop or XFCE Desktop.

Releases are usually made every few months.

GhostBSD users can keep their system up-to-date by using Software Station.

When are GhostBSD releases made?[edit]

The development team releases a new version more or less every couple of months. A testing period precedes each release in order to ensure that the addition of new features does not compromise the stability of the release.

How can I contribute?[edit]

There is a number of ways to contribute to the GhostBSD project:

  • If you possess abilities in programming and knowledge of the FreeBSD operating system, or you simply want to learn these things, you might want to consider joining the team by becoming an active developer. If you are feeling adventurous, you might want to try building GhostBSD, but you might as well join us on Telegram [1] to get in touch with the team and see what work currently has to be done.
  • If you are interested in helping form the artistic perspective, you could contribute fan art, logos, wallpapers, or help design/maintain the website layout. In this case, join us on Telegram [2].
  • If you have decent writing skills and know English quite well, you might want to help by writing documents and producing website and wiki content. Get in touch with us on Telegram [3].
  • If none of the above apply to you, you might just want to use GhostBSD and tell us about bugs you've discovered and the ideas you have about how to improve the system You can report them via forums. You might also consider simply spreading the word about GhostBSD!
  • On the Contribution page you will get more information.

If you feel like you might be able to help us grow and improve GhostBSD in any of the above ways (or any other way you can come up with), please contact us using the forums, or join us on Telegram [4].


What’s the best way to get support?[edit]

At this point, the best ways to contact other GhostBSD users or developers are:

FAQ and User Handbook are under development. Questions can be answered on the forums and IRC will find their way to this page or the handbook.

Where can I find complete information on how to get things done in GhostBSD?[edit]

The first step should be, to search this wiki. We will collect all information and connect them to this wiki. For the most part, things can be done on GhostBSD the same way they are done on [FreeBSD]. This is why we encourage our users to check out the great FreeBSD Handbook in case of any doubts or questions. If any handbook linked to the Manuals page does not cover a specific area of your interest, or it seems GhostBSD differs from FreeBSD in some regard, the forums or IRC channel will probably hold the answers you seek.

=== On which FreeBSD branch should I try to reproduce GhostBSD bugs? On the same on which it is based. See above.


Where can I get GhostBSD?[edit]

Every release image of GhostBSD is available via SourceForge site:

  • The latest releases images can be found on the Download page.

How do I create a bootable USB pendrive?[edit]

Up to version 4.0 separate USB images (with the .img extension) existed that were suitable for USB flash drives. Since version 10.1, GhostBSD releases so-called hybrid ISOs which can either be burned on a DVD or written on a flash drive. Select your preferred desktop and the right architecture and download the ISO. After downloading compare the checksum (optional) and write the content of the iso on a flash drive using one of the methods described below. Since the image itself can be slightly above 2 GB in size, we suggest you use at least a 4 GB pendrive.

On Linux[edit]

Here's an example using the console (use the filename of your ISO and make sure you replace the "sdX" with the right device's name!). The following command needs root privileges (issue as user root or using sudo):

dd if=GhostBSD19.10.iso of=/dev/sdX bs=1M

There's also a good choice to use ddrescue, you can install the software 'gddrescue', then command as follows(need root privileges):

ddrescue -D --force GhostBSD19.10.iso /dev/sdX

On BSD[edit]

Here's an example using the console (use the filename of your ISO and make sure you replace the "daX" with the right device's name!). The following command needs root privileges (issue as user root or using sudo):

dd if=GhostBSD19.10.iso of=/dev/daX bs=1m

You can also do like this(need privileges):

pkg install ddrescue
ddrescue -D --force GhostBSD19.10.iso /dev/daX

On Windows[edit]

This solution comes from the Ubuntu help site, but it applies to GhostBSD as well. You can use one of two tools to create a bootable pendrive on Windows.

Graphical tool on Windows[edit]
  1. Download the desired ISO file
  2. Download the Disk Imager from http://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
  3. Insert your flash media
  4. Note the drive letter assigned to your flash media
  5. Start Disk Imager
  6. Select the downloaded file and target device, and click "Write"
  7. Remove your flash media when the operation is complete
Command prompt tool on Windows[edit]
  1. Download the desired ISO file
  2. Download flashnul from http://shounen.ru/soft/flashnul
  3. Attach your USB drive
  4. Run flashnul -p
  5. Note the physical device number for the USB drive
  6. Run flashnul <number obtained in prior step> -L \path\to\downloaded.iso
  7. Answer "yes" if the selected destination device is correct
  8. Remove your USB drive when the command finished


After completing the above steps, the pendrive should hold a bootable GhostBSD system. Just reboot your machine and make sure you boot from the USB - it should then start a live session.

Where are the instructions for installing GhostBSD?[edit]

Installation instructions for versions beginning with GhostBSD 3.1 can be found in the handbook entry on Installing GhostBSD.

Software Installation[edit]

How do I install new software?[edit]

In GhostBSD software can be installed in three different ways:

  • Software Station is a GTK+ based tool to manage (search, install and uninstall) binary packages on GhostBSD.
  • FreeBSD's package manager PKG can be used to manage packages using the command line. (In versions before 10.x, the old pkg_* tools were used which worked slightly differenty.)
  • GhostBSD Ports is one of the most useful and unique features. It is based on FreeBSD ports collection. If installed, it can be found under /usr/ports and contains the Makefiles (think "recipes" if you are new to this concept) used to automatically build (fetch source code, configure, compile, install) a vast amount of software. A menu-driven system allows you to tweak compile options which makes this an easy to use but extremely flexible method of installing software.
  • See Application Management for more information.

Can I use Linux software on my GhostBSD system?[edit]

First, you should know that most "Linux" software is really open source software. That is, it is freely available for many operating systems, not just Linux. Most software that runs on Linux should also run on GhostBSD.

Like FreeBSD, GhostBSD uses something called Linux Binary Compatibility. In a nutshell, that means you can run many Linux applications as-is. This section of the FreeBSD Handbook explains this compatibility in more detail and describes when it does not work.

However, you do not have to setup Linux Binary Compatibility on your GhostBSD system as it is already configured for you and should "just work".

Does GhostBSD Support Adobe Flash plugin?[edit]

Yes, but a native Adobe® Flash® plugin is not available for GhostBSD. However, a software wrapper for running the Linux® version of the plugin is available. This wrapper also provides support for other browser plugins such as RealPlayer®. Please note that Flash has been officially discontinued and is no longer supported by Adobe as of December 31, 2020. It should now be considered very insecure and unsafe to use.

Look Installing Adobe Flash Plugin

Where is installed Software located[edit]

All preinstalled Software are located on the Main Station: System Administration Utilities.

If you are looking for an application you have downloaded but you got no entry in your application list search also System Administration Utilities.

System and software updates[edit]

How should I upgrade GhostBSD?[edit]

To upgrade GhostBSD, please use the Update Station! Do not use pkg to upgrade if you are not aware of how the updates work with GhostBSD, or your system will most likely get broken.


Why doesn't my WiFi work?[edit]

Look if wlan0 is configured.

cat /etc/rc.conf | grep wlan0

If you have an output similar to:

ifconfig_wlan0="WPA DHCP"

Your WiFi is configured, but it might be down.

sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

Now it should work.

If you have no output, this mean the GhostBSD network configuration system have not detected your WiFi card. The next step for you will be to look if GhostBSD have your WiFi drivers install.

sudo ifconfig | grep -B 3 802.11

In this case run0 is the WiFi drivers.

run0: flags=8843<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,SIMPLEX,MULTICAST> metric 0 mtu 2290
       ether 00:1e:e5:e6:5d:1
       media: IEEE 802.11 Wireless Ethernet autoselect mode 11a

If you have an output similar from the example above, you need to configure the file /etc/rc.conf.

sudo ee /etc/rc.conf

Add those line in the file /etc/rc.conf (Replace run0 by your drivers).

ifconfig_wlan0="WPA DHCP"

Esc and save the file. Now you need to restart netif.

sudo /etc/rc.d/netif restart

Your wifi is now configured, you might have to turn wlan0 up.

sudo ifconfig wlan0 up

If you have no output with sudo ifconfig | grep -B 3 802.11, this can mean your WiFi kernel Module is not compile in GhostBSD or your WiFi card is not yet supported by FreeBSD. Please fill out a problem report form this will help us to make GhostBSD better.

Why doesn't the WiFi Network Manager work?[edit]

You might look at #Why my WiFi don't work? (from above). If you have your WiFi Configured and the WiFi Network Manager still not working.

sudo ifconfig wlan0 scan

You should have something similar to this:

rogerwifi       bc:14:01:e6:33:48    1   54M -23:-42  100 EP   WPS HTCAP WPA RSN WME
-               bc:14:01:e6:33:49    1   54M -20:-38  100 EP   HTCAP RSN WME
WLAN_6EF1       00:13:f7:c4:6e:f3   11   54M -12:-21  200 ES  
BSDHacker       5c:d9:98:69:df:2e   11   54M -15:-27  100 EP   HTCAP WPA WME WPS

If not sudo ifconfig wlan0 up scan should do it. Now you can setup to your network. From above you have none encrypted and encrypted WiFi network.

For a none encrypted WiFi network add the following to the file /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf.


For an encrypted WiFi network add the following to the file /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf.


For more completed documentation see Wireless Networking.

If sudo ifconfig wlan0 up scan still not scanning, please fill out a problem report form this will help us to make GhostBSD better.


Does GhostBSD support the 3D acceleration of my graphics card?[edit]

It depends on the hardware of your graphics card, to have support by GhostBSD (or not).[1]

3D acceleration will not work on ATI or Radeon cards until FreeBSD completes its TTM[2] work (possibly in time for FreeBSD 10.0)[3]. You can still use these cards, but you will have to choose the 2D driver, and if that does not work, you will need to resort to using the Vesa driver.
GhostBSD supports 3D acceleration on most Intel graphics cards. Due to the current KMS support[5], you will not be able to switch between the graphical console and a virtual console (using Crtl+Alt+F#) when using the "sc" console driver.
Switching between graphics and text consoles will work when using the "vt" console driver, and GhostBSD right now default to "vt" console.
Nvidia Graphics
Yes! But nvidia-driver must be loaded.[6] The software can be installed easily, for example by using the (bxPKG/pkg) Package Manager or using ports as described on this page Nvidia driver installation.

Is there a list of supported hardware?[edit]

Search Hardware Supported List

More tips and tricks[edit]

Tips and tricks from users for users


  1. FreeBSD Handbook: Xorg Configuration#Caveats
  2. FreeBSD Wiki: Graphics#Kernel drivers
  3. FreeBSD Wiki: Ports/X11/Roadmap
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