A Call For More Collaboration & Harmony Among BSD Hardware Drivers

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 9 February 2023 at 06:36 AM EST. 18 Comments
The BSD operating system projects tend to not receive as much support from hardware vendors as Linux and their driver support is made even more fragmented on the BSD side due to many subtle as well as not so subtle differences between the major BSDs. NetBSD developer Pierre Pronchery has proposed more "harmony" among BSD drivers with increased collaboration between the major BSD players on driver development.

Pierre Pronchery at FOSDEM 2023 last weekend called for increased collaboration among the BSD open-source projects to enhance driver development. Due to BSD drivers often not being 1:1 portable across the different leaders like FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD due to header differences and other kernel API naming differences, hardware support on the BSDs has suffered.

Pierre Pronchery showing off examples of often subtle differences in BSD driver code across platforms.

Pronchery is hoping that BSD developers can collaborate more across projects and explore more ways that BSD driver code can be more easily shared.

Pierre Pronchery is hoping to see more BSD driver harmony and collaboration across projects.

While nothing concrete has materialized yet, the hope is that there will eventually be movement and progress in this area toward more harmonized BSD driver development to benefit hardware support across all the major BSDs. Those wanting to learn more about Pierre's effort can see the FOSDEM 2023 video embedded below along with the slide deck.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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