FreeBSD 13 and Guix for OpenPOWER

After a bit of downtime, we're back. And cool stuff has happened in our absence, the most notable being additional improvements to the increasingly mature OpenPOWER port of FreeBSD. 13-RELEASE, among other changes, officially introduces the 64-bit little-endian port (previously exclusively big-endian, which is still supported), experimental radix MMU support for POWER9 (hashed page tables are of course supported everywhere), XIVE interrupt support on POWER9 (about 10% faster), optimized memcpy(), memmove() and like-minded standard functions, and many stability and performance improvements. The releases notes say that "performance during bulk -a package building is at least 60% higher" which is very impressive. ISOs are available from their download server.

In addition, ppc64le support has been merged to the GNU Guix source tree, meaning with the next expected version 1.2.1 you'll hopefully be able to get a pre-built copy. It's been in development for several months and now it appears to be finally approaching reality. Like Guix the package manager, the GNU Guix System's most notable feature is its declarative service and package configuration, all on top of the GNU Shepherd init system and (right now) Linux 5.9. Currently there is still a reproducibility issue with gcc, rust is still at least somewhat experimental (which is relevant for librsvg) and many packages have not been tested. Still, since the Talos II and T2 Lite are GNU Respects Your Freedom systems, now you can run another GNU-free OS on them too and sooner than you think.


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