Since, as you stated, Void is SO WELL performing, trying to catch up with it is a true challenge.
I’ll be honest, I think the only case a BSD would keep up with Void, is DragonflyBSD on a large HAMMER partition and a good CPU. Dragonfly is made to draw the best performance possible out of powerful hardware, but it’s a double-edged sword as it can really weigh and slow down legacy hardware. Obviously you’d have also to compile software from dports, enabling only needed desktop-oriented features. I’ve also successfully attempted to run Runit in jail, so my statement is: Dragonfly on HAMMER + dports + Runit would be similar to Void in boot time and performance.
Aside fron that, any BSD is general well performing. Scottro mentioned FreeBSD which is generally high performing OS, as he throughly explained. I have it on my laptop, and I’m very satisfied,but I think FreeBSD can give its own best on desktop.
CURRENT can be made performing if you disable debug flags. However If generally speaking of performance only I wouldn’t put FreeBSD on top (but there are other reason why I’d recommend FreeBSD over other BSDs for)
On the other hand,in my experience nothing beats NetBSD on laptops, especially on legacy hardware: NetBSD can be surprisingly performing on very old machines and all the more wpuld be on your 2Gb RAM. Bear in mind as well that Void was created by a NetBSD mantainer, and that xbps was developed taking NetBSD’s pkgsrc as source of inspiration, which in turn results IMO, in the 2 package managers being similar.
BSDs can boast in general very good ARM ports. I love NetBSD’s aarch64 port (especially considering that 64-bit ARM support for OpenBSD 6.2 has been added in latest 6.2 release only as experimental, while FreeBSD supports aarch64 only in CURRENT, and Dragonfly has nor ARM version at all, due to lack of workforce), and use it on my Rpi3
I’ve haven’t been into OpenBSD long and seriously enough to express a true judgement, but I saw it being recommended many times on laptops, especially on Thinkpads (as OpenBSD developing team seems to use only Thinkpads);
Since different BSDs also noticeably differ on repositories’ width and hardware support (common example is FreeBSD-only inclusion of Nvidia binary blobs), and hardware support is in general 4-5 years behind Linux , all these factors should be really taken into account as well before making your choice
My current situation could be digested as follows:
- Desktop: Void Linux+ DragonflyBSD
- Laptop: FreeBSD STABLE release
- Older laptop: NetBSD, FORMAL release
- Rpi3: NetBSD CURRENT + SARPi
PS: scottro I’m glad to see you here