The PC-BSD logo
Screenshot of PC-BSD 8.1
PC-BSD 8.1 with KDE 4.4.5
Company / developer PC-BSD Software
OS family Unix-like (BSD)
Working state Current
Source model Open source
Initial release 2006
Latest stable release 8.2 / February 24, 2011; 8 months ago (2011-02-24)
Package manager PBI & FreeBSD Ports/Packages
Supported platforms x86, x86-64
Kernel type Monolithic
Default user interface KDE Plasma Desktop (Version 4.5.5)
License BSD licenses
Official website http://www.pcbsd.org

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 KDE SC as the pre-installed graphical user interface. PC-BSD provides official binary nVidia and Intel drivers for hardware acceleration and an optional 3D desktop interface through Kwin. PC-BSD also contains a package management system allowing users to graphically install pre-built software packages from a single downloaded executable file, which is uncommon on BSD operating systems. In August 2006 it was voted the most beginner friendly operating system by OSWeekly.com.[1]



PC-BSD was originally founded by FreeBSD professional Kris Moore in early 2005.

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).

Since October 10, 2006 PC-BSD has been supported by the enterprise-class hardware solution provider iXsystems.[2][3] iXsystems now employs Mr. 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).[4] In January 2008, iXsystems entered into a similar agreement with Micro Center.[5]

Release history

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-BETA1 March 6, 2009 7.1-RELEASE
7.1-RC1 March 27, 2009 7.2-PRERELEASE
7.1 April 10, 2009 7.2-PRERELEASE
7.1.1 July 6, 2009 7.2-STABLE
8.0-BETA January 1, 2010 8.0-RELEASE
8.0-RC1 January 27, 2010 8.0-RELEASE-P2
8.0-RC2 February 11, 2010 8.0-RELEASE-P2
8.0 February 23, 2010 8.0-RELEASE-P2
8.1-BETA1 June 6, 2010 8.1-PRERELEASE
8.1-RC1 June 21, 2010 8.1-RC1
8.1 July 21, 2010 8.1-RELEASE
9.0-ALPHA1 November 4, 2010 9.0-CURRENT [6]
9.0-ALPHA2 December 6, 2010 9.0-CURRENT [7]
8.2-BETA1 December 6, 2010 8.2-PRERELEASE [8]
8.2-RC1 January 10, 2011 8.2-RC1 [9]
9.0-ALPHA3 January 17, 2011 9.0-CURRENT [10]
8.2-RC2 January 20, 2011 8.2-RC2 [11]
8.2-RC3 February 3, 2011 8.2-RC3 [12]
8.2 February 24, 2011 8.2 [13]
9.0-BETA1 August 1, 2011 9.0-BETA1 [14]
9.0-BETA1.5 August 19, 2011 9.0-BETA1 [15]
9.0-BETA2 September 13, 2011 9.0-BETA2 [16]
9.0-BETA3 October 2, 2011 9.0-BETA3 [17]
9.0-RC1 October 24, 2011 9.0-RC1 [18]

Since version 7, PC-BSD began following the same numbering system as FreeBSD. PC-BSD exclusively uses KDE SC, which has been customized to support tighter application integration and the PBI package management system. While manual installation of other desktops such as Xfce and GNOME is technically possible, none of these are supported and major functionality is lost when not using PC-BSD's special build of KDE SC.[19]GNOME will be offered, including several other desktop environments, starting with PC-BSD 9.0.

PC-BSD supports x86 and x86-64 architectures.

Package management

PC-BSD'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), PC-BSD uses files with the .pbi filename extension which, when double-clicked, bring up an installation wizard program. An autobuild system tracks the FreeBSD ports collection and generates new PBI's daily. The generated PBI's are maintained at the PC-BSD software repository.

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 PC-BSD package manager also takes care of creating categorized links in the KDE menu and on the KDE SC desktop.

The PC-BSD 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.


PC-BSD was originally licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL) because the developers were under the impression that applications using the Qt, which PC-BSD 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 PC-BSD developers later relicensed the code under a BSD-like license. In March 2009 Qt added an LGPL License.

PC-BSD 8.x Requirements

Minimum system requirements[20]:

  • Intel Pentium II or higher
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 12 GB of free Hard Drive space (Primary partition or entire disk)
  • Network card
  • Sound card

Recommended system requirements:

  • Intel Pentium 4 or higher
  • 1 GB of RAM
  • 20 GB of free Hard Drive space (Primary partition or entire disk)
  • Network card
  • Sound card
  • 3D accelerated video card (NVIDIA, ATI, or Intel)

Though 512 MB RAM is the absolute minimum, one should use at least 1 GB of RAM if possible. To play modern video games, a fast CPU is recommended, and to create a collection of music and videos, a larger hard disk drive is recommended.

See also


  1. ^ "The Most Beginner Friendly OS". http://www.osweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2287&Itemid=449. Retrieved 2006-08-10. 
  2. ^ "iXsystems Announces Acquisition of PC-BSD Operating System". iXsystems.com. http://www.ixsystems.com/ix/media/ixsystems-announces-acquisition-of-pc-bsd-operating-system. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  3. ^ Mayank Sharma (2006-10-13). "Why iXsystems bought PC-BSD". linux.com. http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/57794?theme=print. Retrieved 2010-04-01. 
  4. ^ "iXsystems Announces Distribution Agreement with Fry's Electronics". http://www.ixsystems.com/ix/media/ixsystems-announces-distribution-agreement-with-frys-electronics-for-pc-bsd. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  5. ^ "iXsystems Announces Distribution Agreement with Micro Center for PC-BSD". http://www.ixsystems.com/ix/media/ixsystems-announces-distribution-agreement-with-micro-center-for-pc-bsd. Retrieved 2011-06-29. 
  6. ^ "First 9.0 Alpha Snapshot Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2010/11/first-9-0-alpha-snapshot-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  7. ^ "Latest 9.0 Snapshot is Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2010/12/latest-9-0-snapshot-is-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  8. ^ "First 8.2 Snapshot is Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2010/12/first-8-2-snapshot-is-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  9. ^ "PC-BSD 8.2-RC1 Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2011/01/pc-bsd-8-2-rc1-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  10. ^ "Next 9.0 Snapshot is Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2011/01/next-9-0-snapshot-is-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  11. ^ "PC-BSD 8.2-RC2 Available for Testing". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2011/01/pc-bsd-8-2-rc2-available-for-testing/. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  12. ^ "PC-BSD 8.2-RC3 Now Available!". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2011/02/pc-bsd-8-2-rc3-now-available/. Retrieved 2011-02-03. 
  13. ^ "PC-BSD 8.2 Released". http://blog.pcbsd.org/2011/02/pc-bsd-8-2-released/. Retrieved 2011-02-24. 
  14. ^ "Release Announcement: PC-BSD 9.0-BETA1". 
  15. ^ "PC-BSD 9.0-BETA1.5 Available for Testing". 
  16. ^ "PC-BSD 9.0-BETA2 Available for Testing". 
  17. ^ "PC-BSD BETA3 Available". 
  18. ^ "PC-BSD 9.0RC1 Available". 
  19. ^ "Can I use Gnome with PC-BSD?". PC-BSD knowledge base. http://faqs.pcbsd.org/index.php?action=artikel&cat=8&id=334&artlang=en. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  20. ^ "Minimum requirement from Users handbook.". http://wiki.pcbsd.org/index.php/Minimum_Hardware_Requirements. 

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