OpenBSD Security, DragonFly + Threadripper, TrueOS Topped Out BSD News This Year

Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 30 December 2018 at 02:37 PM EST. Add A Comment
For those not following the BSD operating systems on a daily basis, here is a look back at the biggest highlights in the BSD land for 2018 ranging from OpenBSD's continued security conscious decisions, NetBSD 8.0 bringing USB 3.0 and other hardware support improvements, DragonFlyBSD running great on Threadripper 2, FreeBSD 12.0 making its highly anticipated debut, and much more.

Of all our BSD coverage on Phoronix this year, below is a look back at the 20 most popular articles for those wishing to relive the exciting highlights. Looking ahead to 2019, it will be interesting to see what comes about as FreeBSD 13 development gets underway, DragonFlyBSD continuing with its optimizations around HAMMER2 and separately around Threadripper 2 / Ryzen 2, we'll see what new innovations come to TrueOS, and there is also notable smaller work happening around HardenedBSD, MidnightBSD, GhostBSD, etc.

KDE Plasma 5 Stack Should Now Be In Good Shape For FreeBSD Ports
Following years of work in bringing the KDE Plasma 5 desktop to FreeBSD, it's getting into shape and the x11/kde5 package is now in the ports tree for easing the process of setting up the modern KDE desktop stack.

John Carmack Goes On Coding Retreat With OpenBSD
While id Software founder John Carmack has been known for his open-source and Linux interests over the years and even working on Utah GLX back in the day, he just wrapped up a self-driven "programming retreat" where he was using OpenBSD.

OpenBSD Disabling SMT / Hyper Threading Due To Security Concerns
Security oriented BSD operating system OpenBSD is making the move to disable Hyper Threading (HT) on Intel CPUs and more broadly moving to disable SMT (Simultaneous Multi Threading) on other CPUs too.

Lumina Desktop 2.0 Is A Big Overhaul, Fully Leveraging QML
The Qt5-written, BSD-focused Lumina Desktop Environment is receiving a big overhaul with its forthcoming 2.0 release.

FreeBSD Finally Gets Mitigated For Spectre & Meltdown
Landing in FreeBSD today was the mitigation work for the Meltdown and Spectre CPU vulnerabilities.

OpenBSD & FreeBSD Are Still Formulating Kernel Plans To Address Meltdown+Spectre
On Friday DragonFlyBSD's Matthew Dillon already landed his DragonFly kernel fixes for the Meltdown vulnerability affecting Intel CPUs. But what about the other BSDs?

Some Of The Early Ideas For Intel's New FreeBSD Improvement Effort
Two weeks back we shared the news that one of Intel's open-source Linux graphics driver veterans decided to change roles and is now focused on improving FreeBSD for Intel hardware. Ben Widawsky is working on FreeBSD improvements that can at least relate to Intel and it turns out the company has a new team of developers on the task.

Linux KPI-Based DRM Modules Now Working On FreeBSD 11
It's now possible to use the graphics/drm-next-kmod port on FreeBSD 11 stable.

NetBSD 8.0 Officially Released With USB3 Support, Security Improvements & UEFI
While it's been on mirrors for a few days, NetBSD 8.0 was officially released this weekend.

MidnightBSD 1.0 Is Ready To Shine With ZFS Support, Ryzen Compatibility
Especially with TrueOS once again taking a new direction, one of the few current BSDs focused on a great desktop experience is MidnightBSD that is about to mark its 1.0 release.

DragonFlyBSD Now Runs On The Threadripper 2990WX, Developer Shocked At Performance
Last week I carried out some tests of BSD vs. Linux on the new 32-core / 64-thread Threadripper 2990WX. I tested FreeBSD 11, FreeBSD 12, and TrueOS -- those benchmarks will be published in the next few days. I tried DragonFlyBSD, but at the time it wouldn't boot with this AMD HEDT processor. But now the latest DragonFlyBSD development kernel can handle the 2990WX and the lead DragonFly developer calls this new processor "a real beast" and is stunned by its performance potential.

FreeBSD DRM Is Causing A Load Of In-Fighting This Week
DRM is causing a lot of vibrant discussions this week on the FreeBSD mailing list... And no, it's not even Digital Rights Management but rather colorful commentary about their Direct Rendering Manager code and plans for FreeBSD 12.

DragonFlyBSD Lands Fixes For Meltdown Vulnerability
Linux, macOS, and Windows has taken most of the operating system attention when it comes down to the recently-disclosed Meltdown vulnerability but the BSDs too are prone to this CPU issue. DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has landed his fixes for Meltdown.

Ryzen Stability Issues Are Still Affecting Some FreeBSD Users
While in recent months there have been some improvements to FreeBSD that have helped yield greater reliability in running AMD Ryzen processors on this BSD operating system, some users are still reporting hard to diagnose stability problems on FreeBSD.

Some FreeBSD Users Are Still Running Into Random Lock-Ups With Ryzen
While Linux has been playing happily with Ryzen CPUs as long as you weren't affected by the performance marginality problem where you had to swap out for a newer CPU (and Threadripper and EPYC CPUs have been running splendid in all of my testing with not having any worries), it seems the BSDs (at least FreeBSD) are still having some quirks to address.

Arcan Display Server Porting To OpenBSD For "Secure System Graphics"
The Arcan Display Server that is the display stack built off (in part) a game engine and also developing the Durden desktop and most recently developing a "Safespaces" VR Linux desktop has also been working on porting the code from Linux to OpenBSD.

TrueOS To Reinvent Itself As New BSD Platform, Downstream Fork Of FreeBSD
Going back to when TrueOS was known as PC-BSD, the operating system has generally been known as a desktop-friendly version of FreeBSD that currently ships with its own Qt5-powered Lumina Desktop Environment while also having a server installer, etc. The folks working on TrueOS at iXsystems are now planning to take TrueOS into a new direction.

DragonFly's HAMMER2 File-System Receiving Christmas Improvements
With DragonFlyBSD 5.4 having been recently released, development is back onto full-swing in Git master. DragonFlyBSD/HAMMER2 lead developer Matthew Dillon has been landing HAMMER2 file-system improvements that he hopes to back-port to stable in the coming weeks.

NetBSD 8.0 Ready For Release With Spectre/Meltdown Fix, Initial USB 3.0 Support
The long overdue NetBSD 8.0 operating system update appears ready now to ship.

A Look At DragonFlyBSD's Kernel Tuning Performance On The AMD Threadripper 2990WX
Last week I posted some initial tests and benchmarks of DragonFlyBSD/FreeBSD on the AMD Threadripper 2990WX. While that went well and the BSDs scale with this 32-core / 64-thread processor better than Windows, lead DragonFly developer Matthew Dillon had picked up a 2990WX system and has been tuning the kernel ever since. Here are some benchmarks looking at some of his recent optimizations.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of 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 automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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