Graphical Management Applications: Most of the graphical management applications available on GhostBSD 2.5 should be well known to users of the GNOME 2 desktop environment. From the menu, you will find them in System > Administration, System > Preferences, and Applications > System Tools. One application that you have probably used often, is the Users and Groups tool. When I accessed it (from System > Administration > Users and Groups), I noticed that the only user account on the system, the one created during installation, was marked as “disabled,” never mind that it is the same account I used to log into the system. What I am describing is clearly a bug, unless there is something that I am missing.
UPDATE: By default, the user account created during installation is assigned to the Administrator role, even though the distribution uses the traditional UNIX root account system. This, I think, is why no authentication is required when accessing administrative applications that require root authentication.
Another management application worth noting here, is the Services Administration Tool (System > Administration > Services). The manual page for this application states that “When you start Services Administration Tool, you will be prompted for the administrator password, …” However, on my test installation, authentication is not required to access or use this application. Because the Services Administration Tool is used to effect changes system-wide, I think not requesting authentication to use it, is not a good idea.
Physical and Network Security Posture: GhostBSD 2.5 offers very little in terms of physical security: The install does not have support for disk encryption and for password-protecting the boot loader. On the network security part, the firewall is disabled out of the box, and enabling it entails messing with the /etc/rc.conf file.
Final Thoughts: Every distribution is built on a solid foundation, but what sets distributions apart is the graphical desktop environment or how that environment is pieced together. GhostBSD 2.5 has a few pieces missing from its graphical interface, pieces that are essential to making the system more user-friendly, especially to new users. Having to mess with configuration files just to make essential features work is not going to win a distribution too many new followers.
A tool as simple as a network manager is a must-have on any modern desktop distribution or operating system, but it is missing on GhostBSD 2.5. That is not acceptable. GhostBSD is a promising distribution, but the developers have to make an extra effort to make the next release to just work out of the box.
Screen Shots: View more screen shots from test installations of GhostBSD 2.5.
Default GhostBSD 2.5 desktop with the menu showing applications in the Internet category.
The same desktop, but with the menu showing applications in the Sound & Video menu category.
This, shows applications in the System Tools menu category.