List of BSD operating systems

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There are a number of Unix-like operating systems under active development, descended from the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) series of UNIX variants developed (originally by Bill Joy) at the University of California, Berkeley Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department. As of 2016 there were four major BSD operating systems, and an increasing number of other OSs derived from these, that add or remove certain features but generally remain compatible with their originating OS—and so are not really forks of them. This is a list of those that have been active since 2014, and their websites.


FreeBSD is a free Unix-like operating system descended from AT&T UNIX via the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). FreeBSD currently has more than 200 active developers and thousands of contributors. Other notable derivatives include DragonFly BSD, which was forked from FreeBSD 4.8, and Apple Inc.'s Mac OS X, with its Darwin base including a large amount of code derived from FreeBSD.

Name Description
AskoziaPBX Discontinued[1]
Bzerk CD
ClonOS[2] ClonOS is a free open-source FreeBSD-based platform for virtual environments creation and management.
DragonFly BSD Originally forked from FreeBSD 4.8, now developed in a different direction
DesktopBSD DesktopBSD is a discontinued[1] desktop-oriented FreeBSD variant using K Desktop Environment 3.5.
Evoke Formerly DamnSmallBSD; a small live FreeBSD environment geared toward developers and system administrators.[3]
FenestrOS BSD
FreeBSD LiveCD
Frenzy Live CD A "portable system administrator toolkit". It generally contains software for hardware tests, file system check, security check and network setup and analysis.
Debian GNU/kFreeBSD
Ging Discontinued
Gentoo/FreeBSD Gentoo/*BSD subproject to port Gentoo features such as Portage to the FreeBSD operating system
GhostBSD GhostBSD is a Unix-derivative, desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD. It aims to be easy to install, ready-to-use and easy to use. Its goal is to combine the stability and security of FreeBSD with pre-installed Gnome, Mate, Xfce, LXDE or Openbox graphical user interface.
IronPort AsyncOS security appliances
Junos OS For Juniper routers
MaheshaBSD A LiveCD or USB stick-based modular toolkit, including an anonymous surfing capability using Tor.[4] The author also made NetBSD LiveUSB - MaheshaNetBSD, and DragonFlyBSD LiveUSB - MaheshaDragonFlyBSD. A LiveCD can be made from all these USB distributions by running the /makeiso script in the root directory.
m0n0wall m0n0wall is an embedded firewall distribution of FreeBSD, one of the BSD operating system descendants. It provides a small image which can be put on Compact Flash cards as well as on CDROMs and hard disks. It runs on a number of embedded platforms and generic PCs.
MidnightBSD Midnight BSD has now forked away from FreeBSD 6.1 Beta
NAS4Free NAS4Free is a network-attached storage (NAS) server software.
NextBSD A distribution of FreeBSD based on the trunk version.
Nokia IPSO Nokia IP security appliances
PacBSD[5] A lightweight operating system that aims to bring the flexibility and philosophy of Arch Linux to BSD-based operating systems.
Paxym FreeBSD for Cavium Networks OCTEON
pfSense pfSense is a FreeBSD-based firewall tailored for use as a firewall and router.
The Dark Star
Triance OS
TrueOS TrueOS (former PC/BSD) is a Unix-like, desktop-oriented operating system based on FreeBSD. It aims to be easy to install by using a graphical installation program, and easy and ready-to-use immediately by providing Lumina (desktop environment) as the default, pre-installed graphical user interface.
CellOS The PlayStation 3 operating system
Orbis OS The PlayStation 4 operating system
Zrouter FreeBSD based firmware for embedded devices

DragonFly BSD-based[edit]

Name Description
Gentoo/DragonFlyBSD Gentoo/*BSD subproject to port Gentoo features such as Portage to the DragonFly BSD operating system
FireFly BSD[6] Was a DragonFly based distribution.


NetBSD is a freely redistributable, open source version of the Unix-derivative Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) computer operating system. It was the second open source BSD descendant to be formally released, after 386BSD, and continues to be actively developed. Noted for its portability and quality of design and implementation, it is often used in embedded systems and as a starting point for the porting of other operating systems to new computer architectures.

Name Description
BlackBSD Live CD with security tools and Fluxbox.
EdgeBSD[7] NetBSD fork with main goal to be more modern in some aspects than NetBSD itself. Looks like some of the things will be back-committed to the main project.
Force10 Networks FTOS the operating system for Force10 TeraScale E-Series switches/routers
Debian GNU/NetBSD Debian GNU/NetBSD was a project to combine Debian with the kernel of NetBSD. It was abandoned in 2002 and has not seen active maintenance ever since.
Gentoo/NetBSD Gentoo/*BSD subproject to port Gentoo features such as Portage to the NetBSD operating system.
Jibbed Live CD based on NetBSD
OS108 OS108 is a desktop-oriented operating system based on NetBSD.
PolyBSD / pocketSAN Multipurpose framework for building embedded systems based on NetBSD.
SEOS The operating system for the Ericsson SmartEdge router series


OpenBSD is a Unix-like computer operating system descended from Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), a Unix derivative developed at the University of California, Berkeley. It was forked from NetBSD in 1995. OpenBSD includes a number of security features absent or optional in other operating systems and has a tradition of developers auditing the source code for software bugs and security problems.

Name Description
ÆrieBSD OpenBSD fork which tends to be free from GPL-licensed software.[8]
adJ Distribution of OpenBSD for Spanish speakers,[9] since 2005 new versions are released around 3 months after OpenBSD's releases, source in GitHub,[10] to learn how to install there is a challenge with badge on P2PU[11]
Anonym.OS Discontinued.
Bitrig[12] OpenBSD fork with main goal to be more modern in some aspects than OpenBSD.[13]
BowlFish a customized OpenBSD installation script for embedded systems, intended to make OpenBSD fit into small media like compact flash cards.
BSDanywhere Live CD featuring the Enlightenment DR17 window manager
ComixWall A firewall with UTM features
ekkoBSD ekkoBSD was a Unix-like operating system based on OpenBSD 3.3, also incorporating code from other BSD-like operating systems. Its focus was on security and easy administration.
FabBSD OpenBSD fork with main application in CNC field. It's almost inactive.
FuguIta Providing both LiveCD and LiveUSB for i386/amd64/arm64. Highly customizable by user. Tracking errata on OpenBSD-stable.
Gentoo/OpenBSD Gentoo/*BSD subproject to port Gentoo features such as Portage to the OpenBSD operating system
MarBSD LiveCD of OpenBSD
LibertyBSD Fork of OpenBSD with all non-free binaries removed.
MicroBSD Fork of the UNIX-like BSD operating system descendant OpenBSD 3.0, begun in July 2002. The project's objective to produce a free and fully secure, complete system, but with a small footprint.
MirOS BSD Core system based mostly on OpenBSD and some NetBSD code for 32-bit i386 and sparc, updated via infrequent snapshots and by following "current". Additional packages via MirPorts and pkgsrc are no longer updated.
OliveBSD[14] Was a live CD originally based on OpenBSD 3.8
PsygNAT Firewall and NAT router tool
Quetzal[15] Was a live DVD/CD system, based on OpenBSD
SONaFR SONaFR is a small system with router/NAT/firewalling capabilities that fits on a single floppy.
SnasciOS[16] Snasci OS is a general purpose operating system built upon OpenBSD and the Lumina Desktop Environment. Designed to be very light weight, Snasci OS is quick, responsive and secure. Whether you want a pretty desktop to surf the web, read emails, work with documents or a hardened server platform, Snasci OS provides a nice balance between the two, without compromising on either.
UTMFW Successor of ComixWall, a firewall with UTM features

Historic BSD[edit]

BSD was originally derived from Unix, using the complete source code for Sixth Edition Unix for the PDP-11 from Bell Labs as a starting point for the First Berkeley Software Distribution, or 1BSD. A series of updated versions for the PDP-11 followed (the 2.xBSD releases). A 32-bit version for the VAX platform was released as 3BSD, and the 4.xBSD series added many new features, including TCP/IP networking.

For many years, the primary developer and project leader was Bill Joy, who was a graduate student at the time; funding for this project was provided by DARPA. DARPA was interested in obtaining a programming platform and programmer's interface which would provide a robust, general purpose, time-sharing computing platform which would not become obsolete every time computing hardware was or is replaced. Such an operating system would allow US Department of Defense software, especially for intricate, long-term finance and logistics operations, to be quickly ported to new hardware as it became available.

As time went on, code was later ported both from and to Unix System III and still later Unix System V. Unix System V Revision 4 (SVR4), released circa 1992, contained much code which was ported from BSD version up to and including 4.3BSD.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Updated: FBSD based Projects and Systems page". FreeBSD News. 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  2. ^ "Free Open-Source Hosting Platform ClonOS". Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  3. ^ "evoke - Formerly DamnSmallBSD - Google Project Hosting". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  4. ^ [1] Archived April 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "PacBSD : Homepage : A simple, lightweight distribution". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  6. ^ "FireflyBSD - DragonFlyBSD". Archived from the original on September 8, 2013. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  7. ^ "The EdgeBSD Project: About EdgeBSD". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  8. ^ "AerieBSD". Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  9. ^ "Novedades". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  10. ^ "pasosdeJesus/adJ · GitHub". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  11. ^ "Reto: adJ como sistema operativo de escritorio" (in Spanish). P2PU. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  12. ^ "Bitrig". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  13. ^ "Faq 路 bitrig/bitrig Wiki 路 GitHub". 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  14. ^ DistroWatch. " OliveBSD". Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  15. ^ Micho Durdevich. "Quetzal::BSD Home Page". Archived from the original on May 12, 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  16. ^ Snasci. " SnasciOS". Retrieved 7 October 2016.

External links[edit]