FreeBSD Moves Along On ARM Support
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 01 January 2013 at 05:04 PM EST. 2 Comments
BSD
While Linux continues to move along quite briskly on ARM hardware support and already has 64-bit ARM AArch64 support, that's not the case in the BSD world. With FreeBSD, they're still working on bringing up ARMv6 support and pulling in support for the different ARM SoCs/boards.

There's a new blog post from this weekend going over the FreeBSD ARMv6 support state. Various FreeBSD ARM issues were overcome in 2012 and they open-source OS has also progressed on switching to EABI and enabling LLVM/Clang compiler support for ARM rather than relying upon GCC.

In 2012, FreeBSD was also brought into a working state on the popular Raspberry Pi development board. The OMAP4 PandaBoard is another ARM platform working reliably now with FreeBSD on ARMv6 (not ARMv7).

For now the FreeBSD developers working on ARM enablement are seeking out stability and performance out of currently-supported platforms before expanding onto other ARM tasks. "First - experimental and unstable state of FreeBSD/armv6 in general. It's no fun adding new hardware support when you're not confident in underlying subsystems stability. "I flush cache for this TX descriptor but is it really gets flushed?". Been there, no fun at all. That's why I believe task #1 for nearest future is maximum performance and rock-solid stability of what we have."

The developers for now also aren't looking at GPU/graphics support on ARM. "Fix these two issues should make bring-up process easier. It leaves us with question of GPU support. But it's different story for different post..." This isn't a huge surprise and likely will not see any progress for years with it not being until the release of FreeBSD 9.1 days ago that there was even Intel DRM/KMS driver support and there's still no Nouveau/Radeon DRM driver ported to FreeBSD mainline.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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