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TrueOS logo.png
Lumina desktop running on TrueOS
Developer iXsystems
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 2006; 10 years ago (2006)
Latest release Rolling Release, based on FreeBSD-CURRENT / September 9, 2016; 2 months ago (2016-09-09)
Package manager PBI & FreeBSD Ports/Packages
Platforms x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface Lumina
License BSD licenses
Official website

TrueOS (formerly PC-BSD or PCBSD), is a Unix-like, desktop-oriented operating system built upon the most recent releases of FreeBSD-CURRENT.[1] It aims to be easy to install by using a graphical installation program, and easy and ready-to-use immediately by providing Lumina, KDE SC, LXDE, Xfce, or MATE[2] as the desktop environment. It provides official binary Nvidia and Intel drivers for hardware acceleration and an optional 3D desktop interface through KWin, and Wine is ready-to-use in running Microsoft Windows software. TrueOS is able to run Linux software,[3] in addition to FreeBSD Ports collection, and it has its own package management system that allows users to graphically install pre-built software packages from a single downloaded executable file, which is unique for BSD operating systems.

TrueOS supports ZFS, and the installer offers disk encryption with geli so the system will require a passphrase before booting.


TrueOS was originally founded by FreeBSD professional Kris Moore in early 2005 as PC-BSD. In August 2006 it was voted the most beginner friendly operating system by[4]

The first Beta consisted of only a GUI installer to get the user up and running with a FreeBSD 6 system with KDE3 pre-configured. This was a major innovation for the time as anyone wishing to install FreeBSD would have to manually tweak and run through a text installer. Kris Moore's goal was to make FreeBSD easy for everyone to use on the desktop and has since diverged even more in the direction of usability by including additional GUI administration tools and PBI packages (see Package management).

On October 10, 2006, PC-BSD was acquired by enterprise-class hardware solution provider iXsystems.[5][6] iXsystems now employs Moore as a full-time developer and leader of the project. In November 2007, iXsystems entered into a distribution agreement with Fry's Electronics whereby Fry's Electronics stores nationwide carry boxed copies of PC-BSD version 1.4 (Da Vinci Edition).[7] In January 2008, iXsystems entered into a similar agreement with Micro Center.[8]

On September 1, 2016, the PC-BSD team announced that the name of the operating system will change to TrueOS.[1] Along with the rebranding, the project also became a rolling release distribution, based on the FreeBSD-CURRENT branch.[9]

On November 15, 2016, TrueOS began the transition from FreeBSD's rc.d to OpenRC as the default init system. While this init system. Apart from Gentoo/FreeBSD, where OpenRC was initially developed this is the only other major BSD based operating system using OpenRC.

Release history[edit]

Version Release date FreeBSD codebase
1.0 April 29, 2006 6.0
1.1 May 29, 2006 6.1
1.2 July 12, 2006 6.1
1.3 December 31, 2006 6.1
1.4 September 24, 2007 6.2-STABLE
1.4.1.x Various 6.3-PRERELEASE
1.5 March 12, 2008 6.3-STABLE
1.5.1 April 23, 2008 6.3-STABLE
7.0 September 16, 2008 7.0-STABLE
7.0.1 October 17, 2008 7.0-STABLE
7.0.2 December 10, 2008 7.1-PRERELEASE
7.1 April 10, 2009 7.2-PRERELEASE
7.1.1 July 6, 2009 7.2-STABLE
8.0 February 23, 2010 8.0-RELEASE-P2
8.1 July 21, 2010 8.1-RELEASE
8.2 February 24, 2011 8.2[10]
9.0 January 13, 2012 9.0[11]
9.1 December 18, 2012 9.1[12]
9.2 October 7, 2013 9.2-CURRENT[13]
10.0 January 29, 2014 10.0[14]
10.1 November 14, 2014 10.1[15]
10.2 August 21, 2015 10.2[16]
10.3 April 4, 2016 10.3[17]
TrueOS September 1, 2016 FreeBSD-CURRENT[1]

Since version 7, PC-BSD began following the same numbering system as FreeBSD.

Until version 9.0, the only desktop environment supported by PC-BSD had been KDE SC, customized to support tighter application integration and the PBI package management system. While manual installation of other desktops such as Xfce and GNOME had been technically possible, none of these were supported and major functionality was lost when not using PC-BSD's special build of KDE SC.[18] Starting with version 9.0, PC-BSD added other desktop environments, including GNOME, Xfce, LXDE, and MATE.

PC-BSD used to support both x86 and x86-64 architectures. Support for x86 was dropped in version 9.2.[19][20]

no carrier (underlined red) status message shown in widgets of a PC-BSD 10.1.2 network manager (running on MATE). Three network interface widgets (2 Ethernet and 1 Wi-Fi) showing two network interfaces being up, one being down with no cable plugged in (hence: "no carrier").

Starting in September 2016 with the rebranding of PC-BSD, TrueOS became a rolling release distribution based on FreeBSD's Current branch.[1][9]

Package management[edit]

TrueOS's package management system takes a different approach to installing software than many other Unix-like operating systems. Instead of using the FreeBSD ports tree directly (although it remains available), TrueOS uses files with the .pbi filename extension (Push Button Installer) which, when double-clicked, bring up an installation wizard program. An autobuild system tracks the FreeBSD ports collection and generates new PBIs daily.

All software packages and dependencies are installed in their own self-contained directories in /Programs. This convention is aimed to decrease confusion about where binary programs reside, remove the possibility of a package breaking if system libraries are upgraded or changed, and prevent dependency hell. The TrueOS package manager also takes care of creating categorized links in the KDE menu and on the KDE SC desktop.

The TrueOS package management system aims to be similar to that of major operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X, where applications are installed from a single downloaded file with graphical prompts, rather than the traditional package management systems that many Unix-like systems use.

Lumina Desktop[edit]

In 2014, the PC-BSD project announced its development of a new desktop environment, from scratch, named Lumina. Ken Moore is the main developer of Lumina, which is based on the Qt toolkit.[21]

As of July 2016, Lumina has its own web site and a v1.0 BETA release.[22]

Accordingly, to the website itself, "The Lumina desktop environment is not an application development toolkit/framework—it is only a system interface."[23] thus possibly making it as lightweight as LXQt.

Moreover, its "plugin-based approach" makes it very flexible while "it also does not use any of the Linux-based desktop frameworks (ConsoleKit, PolicyKit, D-Bus, systemd, etc..), instead using a simple built-in interface layer for communicating directly with the operating system (which is the only class specific to the operating system - making it simple to port/customize)."[24]


TrueOS was originally licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) because the developers were under the impression that applications using the Qt, which TrueOS uses for its interface development, must be licensed under the GPL or the QPL. Upon discovering that there was no such restriction in fact, the TrueOS developers later relicensed the code under a BSD-like 3-clause license.[25]

TrueOS and the TrueOS logo are registered trademarks of iXsystems Inc.[26]

Hardware requirements[edit]

The New York City *BSD User Group runs a service named dmesgd,[27] which provides user-submitted dmesg information for different computer hardware (laptops, workstations, single-board computers, embedded systems, virtual machines, etc.) capable of running TrueOS.

According to the TrueOS wiki,[28] TrueOS has the following hardware requirements:



  • x86-64 processor
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • 50 GB of free hard drive space on a primary partition for a "desktop" installation, or 20 GB for a "server" installation (TrueOS)
  • Network card
  • Sound card
  • 3D-accelerated video card


UEFI support (for x86-64 only) has been added to the installer and the boot manager from version 10.1.[29] This includes ACPI detection and setup of Root System Description Pointer (RSDP),[30] eXtended System Descriptor Table (XSDT),[31] and Root System Description Table (RSDT)[32] pass-through values to the kernel. A new installation is needed in order to install UEFI support as it requires the creation of a small FAT partition. The current UEFI does not support secure boot.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Smith, Josh (1 September 2016). "PC-BSD Evolves into TrueOS | TrueOS". TrueOS® Project and iXsystems. Retrieved 2016-11-20 – via 
  2. ^ "System Selection Screen/10.0 - PC-BSD Wiki". Retrieved 3 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Chapter 11. Linux Binary Compatibility". Retrieved 9 February 2014. 
  4. ^ "The Most Beginner Friendly OS". Archived from the original on October 18, 2006. Retrieved 2006-08-10. 
  5. ^ "iXsystems Announces Acquisition of PC-BSD Operating System". Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  6. ^ Mayank Sharma (2006-10-13). "Why iXsystems bought PC-BSD". Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  7. ^ "iXsystems Announces Distribution Agreement with Fry's Electronics". Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  8. ^ "iXsystems Announces Distribution Agreement with Micro Center for PC-BSD". Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  9. ^ a b "PC-BSD Follows a Rolling Release Model, Gets Renamed To TrueOS - Slashdot". Retrieved 2016-11-20. 
  10. ^ "PC-BSD 8.2 Released". Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  11. ^ "PC-BSD 9.0 Released!". Retrieved 2012-01-13. 
  12. ^ "PC-BSD 9.1 Now Available". Retrieved 2012-12-21. 
  13. ^ "Official PC-BSD Blog » PC-BSD 9.2-RELEASE Now Available". Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  14. ^ "Official PC-BSD Blog » PC-BSD 10.0-RELEASE is Now Available". Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  15. ^ "Official PC-BSD Blog » PC-BSD 10.1-RELEASE Now Available". Retrieved 2014-11-19. 
  16. ^ "Official PC-BSD Blog » PC-BSD 10.2-RELEASE Now Available". Retrieved 2015-08-21. 
  17. ^ "PC-BSD Announce » PC-BSD 10.3-RELEASE now available!". Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  18. ^ "Can I use Gnome with PC-BSD?". PC-BSD knowledge base. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  19. ^ Minimum hardware requirements for PC-BSD 9.1
  20. ^ Minimum hardware requirements for PC-BSD 9.2
  21. ^ Larabel, Michael (23 April 2014). "PC-BSD Is Developing Its Own Desktop Environment". Phoronix. Retrieved 2 July 2014. 
  22. ^ Larabel, Michael (4 July 2016). "PC-BSD's Lumina Desktop Now In Beta For v1.0". Phoronix. Phoronix. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  23. ^ "Exploring and sharing Lumina". Lumina Desktop Environment. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  24. ^ "Exploring and sharing Lumina". Lumina Desktop Environment. Retrieved 4 July 2016. 
  25. ^ "Press And Legal - Legal notices". The PC‑BSD Project. Retrieved 2 March 2015. 
  26. ^ "1. Introduction — TrueOS® User Guide". Retrieved 2016-11-20. TrueOS® and the TrueOS® logo are registered trademarks of iXsystems. 
  27. ^ dmesgd
  28. ^ "Hardware requirements on TrueOS wiki.". 
  29. ^ "What's New in 10.1". 
  30. ^ RSDP
  31. ^ XSDT
  32. ^ RSDT


External links[edit]