With the release of helloSystem 0.7.0 and more internal work, helloSystem is moving towards stability for an “open” alternative to macOS.
The helloSystem is a FreeBSD-based lightweight operating system aiming for an “open” alternative to macOS. The primary objective of helloSystem is to provide an easy-to-install and use FreeBSD alternative with a truly “open” system. In addition, the team also aims for macOS switchers who can feel comfortable with a similar desktop without a lockdown system or the complexity of a Linux distribution.
Making such an operating system takes time, considering the hardware support in the BSD system. The team is working on creating a desktop – “hellodesktop” from the ground up. Written in C++, the hellodesktop and other improvements are coming along nicely.
At the end of 2021, the team released the last stable version, helloSystem 0.7.0, based on FreeBSD 13.0 and is currently porting the system to FreeBSD 13.1 and 14 versions.
Along with that, a bunch of new features that work now in this system; here’s a summary:
- Powered by FreeBSD 13.0
- Refinements in the LIVE medium with updated boot time and compressed UFS filesystem
- Reduced ISO image size to 800 MB to fit into a CD
- Compatible with Ventoy USB creator
- NVIDIA GPU support, including older models
- exFAT support is added while installing in the target partition
- KDE’s Falkon browser is added, with additional menu items to download and install Chromium and Firefox
- System alert sounds
- Brightness and sound control support via Laptop keyboard dedicated keys
In addition to the above, a new section is added in helloSystem 0.7.0 to give you an early look at the features which the team is currently working on. Some of the coolest features arriving in future releases include:
- Debian runtime install utility to run Linux applications inside BSD!
- A separate app for downloading applications.
- New update utility
Furthermore, a bunch of bug fixes and translation updates landed in 0.7.0.
That being said, it still needs significant time to become an easy-to-use BSD variant and an “open” alternative to macOS. Since I reported first, huge updates have already been made within a year across the graphical installer, desktop apps, and bug fixes. I hope it will become more mainstream in 2023 with FreeBSD 14 port.
If you want to try it in real hardware, make sure to take backups and try. Also, helloSystem is now fully compatible with virtual machines such as VirtualBox. You can give it a try. If you are trying in VirtualBox, make sure to change the CPU to 64-bit.
Official download of the versions (including helloSystem 0.7.0 stable) is available on this page, or you can grab the ISO using the below link.
If you want to contribute to testing, development or any capacity, visit the GitHub page for details.