We haven't covered BSD a great deal in this blog even though I personally run NetBSD on three systems myself (two of which are in regular service), mostly because my system and I suspect the majority of the OpenPOWER install base is on Linux. However, FreeBSD 11.3 is now officially released and has fairly good support for 32-bit and 64-bit PowerPC on Power Mac hardware, so it's worth pointing out that 12.0 (and 13.0) has also been tested on the Blackbird and thus should also work on the Talos II. However, on the PowerPC wiki page -CURRENT is recommended for Blackbird, 12.0 is mandatory for OpenPOWER (thus 11.x won't work and presumably won't ever work), and X11 is currently listed "on Power8/Power9 [as] still a work in progress." Nevertheless, POWER8 systems also work, hardware support is improving and the OS offers another big-endian option for people preferring to run their systems that way, so hopefully Justin or Mark who are more versed in the FreeBSD world than I am have some comments about how well it works for others to explore.


  1. Hi, I'm Justin, lead committer working on the POWER9 (and powerpc in general) effort, and I can say that POWER is in good shape with -CURRENT, I run it on my Talos II. POWER9 requires 12.0 or later (to be pedantic, it'll work on -CURRENT as of ~June 2018, but *not* 11.x), POWER8 should work on 10.x or later, but 11.x is preferred minimum. I tend to be pretty lazy with merging back to stable branches, as I only run -CURRENT on all my machines (other machines I have are AmigaOne X5000, AmigaOne A1222 Tabor, and a handful of PowerMacs and PowerBooks).

    There's a lot of work going on for migrating to Clang/LLVM for powerpc64 (primarily) and the other powerpc targets, with the expectation that we'll be fully migrated in the next several weeks. This upgrade, and the move to LLD instead of our extremely outdated GNU ld will help improve performance in various components.

    Regarding X11, the graphics/drm-legacy-kmod driver should work on Talos (it works on my X5000, and the pmap and other low level support is much better on AIM architecture than it is on Book-E), but likely no DRI acceleration. Newer support is a work in progress, and not quite there. I plan to look at that more in the near future.

    1. I was hoping you'd reply. Thanks for the added detail.


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