If you want to try out FreeBSD 9.0 this holiday but are not turned on by the actual FreeBSD 9.0 install and setup process, nor find the KDE desktop of PC-BSD 9.0 enjoyable, you may want to try out GhostBSD 2.5.
GhostBSD is similar to PC-BSD in that it aims for an easy-to-use desktop built atop FreeBSD, but rather than using the KDE 4.x desktop as its default graphical desktop environment it has GNOME. The tag line for the GhostBSD project is "GNOME Meets FreeBSD." Like PC-BSD, GhostBSD has a very user-friendly installer and is offered as a Live CD/DVD.
GhostBSD 2.5 is the project's forthcoming release derived from FreeBSD 9.0. Right now the 2.5 release is available as an RC2 release, which on the GhostBSD side also tacks on a new WiFi Network manager, the Florence virtual keyboard, and e2fsprogs for EXT2/EXT3/EXT4 file-system support. GhostBSD is available for x86 and x86_64 architectures. GhostBSD is much younger than FreeBSD/PC-BSD itself with the GhostBSD 1.0 release having just arrived in 2010.
The 2.5 release of GhostBSD is not on the GNOME3 bandwagon but rather is using the GNOME 2.32 release series. Bundled onto the Live USB for GhostBSD 2.5 is all of the normal GNOME components, and even the PiTiVi video editing application and some extras. Adobe Flash Player is also included by default, but GhostBSD 2.5 RC2 was not using the NVIDIA binary driver by default on the hardware tested (PC-BSD defaults to the NVIDIA blob) and falling back to the un-accelerated xf86-video-nv DDX driver.