binary blobs in freebsd

Robert Watson rwatson at
Sun Oct 22 12:34:20 UTC 2006

On Sun, 22 Oct 2006, Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

> I think it's only device drivers, I've not heard of anything else in 
> anywhere, other than 3rd party programs that might be in the ports, that do 
> this.

In the base system, binary parts definitely only for device drivers.  A quick 
find for .uu files in /usr/src/sys on RELENG_6 reveals:

fledge:/usr/src/sys> find . -name \*.uu

There are a variety of binary-only programs that can be pulled in via the 
ports collection -- typically third party applications, such as vmware, etc.

It's worth noting that at least a few of the above are firmware images, not 
objects that run on the same CPU as the OS.  In some cases, firmware images 
aren't licensed for inclusion in FreeBSD, so are installed via the ports 
collection.  For example, the firmware for the Intel wireless driver.

Robert N M Watson
Computer Laboratory
University of Cambridge

> Ted
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Antonios Anastasiadis" <antonakis at>
> To: <questions at>
> Sent: Friday, October 20, 2006 2:30 PM
> Subject: binary blobs in freebsd
>> Hello.
>> I am thinking about using FreeBSD in various places, however before I
>> do that it would be comfortable to know what binary blobs it includes
>> in any part of the system, be it binary daemon, binary driver etc.
>> Two I am aware of are the Atheros Hal and an Adaptec RAID driver.
>> I did not find any definitive resource of some kind anywhere, hence
>> the question here.
>> Thank you.
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