FreeBSD distribution for ARM processors.

Elias Chrysocheris elias_chr at
Thu Oct 24 17:03:51 UTC 2013

On Thursday 24 of October 2013 17:14:57 John W. Kitz wrote:
> Gilbert,
> Thanks. Do you expect this current position to change in the near future?
> The reason I'm asking is the fact that I get the impression that there may
> be developments in the area of hardware development such as the cubietruck
> (see
> which move ARM based systems closer to general purpose platforms based on
> architectures such as i386, AMD, SPARC, etc. and which might warrant such a
> change provided that it is feasible from a perspective of distribution
> packaging of course.
> Regards, Jk.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lowell Gilbert [mailto:freebsd-questions-local at] 
> Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 3:24 PM
> To: John.Kitz at
> Cc: freebsd-questions at
> Subject: Re: FreeBSD distribution for ARM processors.
> "John W. Kitz" <John.Kitz at> writes:
> > Can someone please explain the rationale behind not providing a 
> > distribution for arm based systems, as it seems somewhat illogical to 
> > me that distributions are available for ia64, powerpc, sparc64 (see
> > which are considered Tier 2 
> > architectures while the official reason for arm being a Tier 2 
> > architecture is the fact that no distribution is provided for it (see 
> >
> The ARM port is mostly used for embedded work, for which a formal
> distribution would not be helpful. There really aren't many standards for
> peripherals beyond i2c, so it wouldn't be possible to support different
> ARM-based devices with a single distribution.
> Be well.
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Well, there are a lot of ARM processors, hmmm... microcontrollers or SoCs, out 
there. And the differences between them are a lot more... The only common thing 
they have is the ARM Core. The addressing space, the way they talk to the 
embedded peripherals and a lot more are different on each of them. There are 
also no specifications for the peripherals those boards should contain and how 
they communicate to the main chip. There are even a lot more GPUs embedded in 
those chips that it virtually makes it impossible for a single FreeBSD ARM 
release to be deployed to all of them.

There are, though some very helpful tries to run FreeBSD in many of these ARM 
boards. You can follow the FreeBSD-arm mailing list and the FreeBSD-embedded 
list to keep track of what is the improovements on that area. Ganbold 
Tsagaankhuu makes a great effort for some of them. And I really wish I had the 
knowledge to contribute in this effort, as I own an ODroid-U2 that I would 
really wish to see it running FreeBSD.

Cubieboard, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black (and many more) on 
the other hand, I thing the effort of those teams is in a very good road to 
success! So, I really urge you to follow these mailing list.


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