Introduction to TrueOS
Finally, there is something cooking in the house of FreeBSD. It is not so often to catch a whiff of news about what FreeBSD is doing and TrueOS did break that monotony. This is a rolling operating system whose parent or base is FreeBSD. This gives it access to all the latest features, applications and drivers from its parent.
TrueOS was formerly known as PC-BSD and I think the new name is far much better than its predecessor. Not only did they decide to change the name but they saw it fit to change a number of things as well. For example, the system installer is much better, TrueOS installs default applications without asking which ones you should pick contrary to PC-BSD’s style. The new release of TrueOS uses Lumina 2.0 desktop environment by default.
There are other details that the TrueOS shares with its predecessor such as
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
What is new in TrueOS STABLE 18 Release
Most of the changes that were made in the new release after version 17.12 have been around security. The following are some of the changes that TrueOS have implemented.
1. Meltdown and Spectre security fixes
“Meltdown” security fixes: This release contains all the fixes to FreeBSD which mitigate the security issues for systems that utilize Intel-based processors when running virtual machines such as FreeBSD jails.
“Spectre” security mitigations: This release contains all current mitigations from FreeBSD HEAD for the Spectre memory-isolation attacks (Variant 2).
2. Important security-based package updates
- LibreSSL is updated from version 2.6.3 -> 2.6.4
- Browser updates e.g
- Firefox: 57.0.1 -> 58.0.2
- Chromium: 61.0.3163.100 -> 63.0.3239.132
- Qt5 Webengine (QupZilla, Falkon, many others): 5.7.1 -> 5.9.4
Installation of TrueOS
There are three versions of installers available for choosing: graphical mode, graphical mode using a specific driver or launch a text-based installer. All of the installation modes worked pretty fine and TrueOS connected to the network automatically automatically once the operating system had been installed. It seems FreeBSD values ZFS file systems because TrueOS uses it exclusively taking over a given partition or hard drive.
TrueOS Lumina desktop
TrueOS uses Lumina desktop environment by default. Its features include black, grey and white colors which brings problems to some reading of text especially when the background is white or grey. Good news is that Lumina settings comes with other window themes that you can choose.
Speaking about hardware compatibilities, TrueOS goes a notch higher compared to PC-BSD. It performed faster and better in VirtualBox environment. Video, sound, network, and other devices are configured automatically during installation.
The following are the few applications that ship by default in TrueOS:
Firefox without Flash player, Thunderbird e-mail application, X11VNC desktop sharing software, VLC multimedia player along with codecs, PDF viewer, Phototonic image viewer, and Insight file manager. Other utilities include a calculator, text editor, disk manager, and CUPS printing software. Not to forget, TrueOS runs on the FreeBSD 12.0 kernel under the hood. The applications are fairly lean and you can begin using the services
TrueOS Software manager
The distribution uses The AppCafe package manager which features three tabs namely Browse, Installed and Pending. The three tabs work quite well and their titles intuitively tell much about what they do.
Tor Mode can be used to anonymously access Internet sites as it automatically forwards all Internet traffic through the Tor Project’s transparent proxy service.
If you had used PC-BSD before, you will be a witness that so much has changed when TrueOS came into the scene. Some of them have been highlighted above. What is paramount is that the system is now more focused on cutting edge software and features in FreeBSD’s development branch.
Some of the other finer improvements as has been highlighted is the smoother installer, better configuration tools and the in house Lumina desktop environment.
To wrap it all up, TrueOS gives its users the platform to play around with technologies that FreeBSD developers have come up with. It is a channel that FreeBSD can be felt on a desktop machine as well. Technologies such as ZFS and other obscure ones are all available for experimentation and learning. Give this project a try and have a feel of what it offers.
You can also check: