FreeBSD Had A Very Successful 2018: Performance Improvements, Better Hardware Support
Written by Michael Larabel in BSD on 24 December 2018 at 08:00 AM EST. 3 Comments
BSD --
The FreeBSD project is out with their latest status report spanning from January to September 2018. This report covers the bulk of their project changes this year granted not their very latest Q4 happenings, including the release earlier this month of the long-awaited FreeBSD 12.0.

It was a stellar year for FreeBSD with performance improvements, better hardware support from conventional x86_64 systems to POWER9 and ARM and even RISC-V, a lot of new ports/packages going online, and all the work that culminated with the recent FreeBSD 12.0 debut. Some of the highlights covered in their status report include:

- The FreeBSD Core Team has been discussing the potential for more frequency point releases and/or changing the support model.

- FreeBSD Ports is up to almost 34,000 ports!

- FreeBSD has been backing projects around OpenZFS RAID-Z Expansion, a headless mode out-of-the-box for embedded ARM boards, and general performance and scalability improvements. There's also been other work on ZFS improvements, 64-bit inode support, i915 graphics driver work, FAT file-system support for makefs, and other work.

- The FreeBSD boot loader has a Lua interpreter that was made the default in Q3. This Lua interpreter will replace their FORTH interpreter for FreeBSD 13. The FreeBSD boot loader has also seen better UEFI support.

- Continued work on the FreeBSD Intel/AMD open-source graphics driver support based upon the Linux graphics driver code.

- FreeBSD power management improvements being worked on by Intel.

- Performance work includes lowering the system call overhead so that it's half that of FreeBSD 11, epoch performance improvements, Unix sockets can now scale linearly with increasing core counts, and the NUMA work has seen a 20~80x improvement in scalability of page fault handling.

- Various improvements to the Bhyve virtualization hypervisor.

- Support improvements for FreeBSD on various ARM SoCs.

- FreeBSD is getting into better shape on IBM POWER9, particularly around the Raptor Talos II hardware.

The report in full can be read on FreeBSD.org.

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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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