FreeBSD/arm64 becoming Tier 1 in FreeBSD 13

Alan Somers asomers at
Fri Apr 9 13:40:42 UTC 2021

On Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 7:23 AM Ed Maste <emaste at> wrote:

> Summary
> FreeBSD will promote arm64 to a Tier 1 architecture in FreeBSD 13.
> This means we will provide release images, binary packages, and
> security and errata updates. While we anticipate there will be minor
> issues with this first release, we believe the port is mature enough
> that they can be resolved during the life of FreeBSD 13.
> Details
> Development efforts on FreeBSD/arm64 (also known as AArch64) started
> in 2014, with generous financial and technical support from Arm,
> Cavium and the FreeBSD Foundation. FreeBSD 11.0 arrived in October
> 2016 as the first release with support for the architecture.
> Improvements to the kernel, tool chain, userland, and ports and
> package infrastructure have been ongoing since that time, with
> improvements arriving in each minor and major release.
> The FreeBSD base system is ready for the promotion of arm64 to Tier 1,
> and the Release Engineering, Security, and Ports teams are prepared to
> support the Tier 1 requirements for arm64. Security updates via
> freebsd-update now include arm64 support (starting with the FreeBSD
> 13.0 release candidates).
> Required ports infrastructure is in place for arm64 and most ports
> build successfully. The project now has several Ampere eMAG systems
> acting as package build servers. These machines were obtained through
> a combination of FreeBSD Foundation purchases and generous donations
> from Ampere.
> To support port maintainers who do not have access to arm64 hardware
> we will be improving ports CI and testing resources (and this effort
> will benefit all architectures). We will also be suggesting one or
> more low-cost reference platforms for FreeBSD/arm64.
> The guarantees included in Tier 1 status are described in
> In particular, for Tier 1 architectures the project provides release
> images, binary package sets, and binary and source updates for
> Security Advisories and Errata Notices.
> The AArch64 ecosystem’s maturity ensures follow on generations of
> hardware. The diversity of offerings, as well as the multiple
> generations of hardware shows that the FreeBSD project will benefit
> from adding support for this platform. The growth trajectory suggests
> this will be a significant portion of the market in the coming years,
> and FreeBSD will benefit from tapping into this market with this Tier
> 1 platform.
> (on behalf of core)
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Wow, great news!  I look forward to seeing your reference platform
recommendations.  But the next obvious question that comes to mind is: how
to do hosted CI testing for FreeBSD/arm64?   Cirrus-CI and work well
but only for amd64.  Are there any options for arm64 at all?  I think it
should be possible to hook up Cirrus's management to one of Amazon's arm64
instances, but somebody would have to go to the trouble of creating a
custom ami image, and every user would need to create an EC2 account.  Are
there any better options?

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