FreeBSD The Power to Serve

FreeBSD/ppc Project

Introduction

The FreeBSD/ppc project pages contain information about the FreeBSD port to the PowerPC® architecture. As with the port itself, these pages are still a work in progress.

Status

The FreeBSD/ppc port is still a Tier 2 platform. That means it is not being fully supported by our security officer, release engineers and toolchain maintainers. However, it is supported by portmgr (package building).

The most up-to-date information about supported hardware is currently being maintained on the wiki.


Latest News

  • 13 Apr, 2021: FreeBSD 13.0 was released introducing new target powerpc64le and LLVM as main compiler. Supports disk, network and video controller drivers for modern POWER machines from Raptor Computing (Blackbird and Talos II) and IBM (LC922 and IC922). Release Notes

  • 22 Sep, 2020: new target powerpc64le (64-bit little endian) was introduced targetting POWER8 and newer processors.

  • 29 Dec, 2019: Release 13.0 for powerpc, powerpcspe and powerpc64 targets will replace GCC4 by LLVM compiler and powerpc64 will use the modern OpenPower 64-Bit ELF V2 ABI Specification.

  • 05 May, 2019: FreeBSD has been tested and seems to work on the Raptor Blackbird.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I install FreeBSD/ppc?

ISO images of FreeBSD 13.0 are available for download, for details on how to obtain these see the release announcement. FreeBSD 12.x is not being maintained regularly and its use is strongly discouraged. ABI changes makes 12.x binary-incompatible with 13.x and later.

How to use ports on FreeBSD/ppc?

Refer to the Handbook: use the Ports Collection.

Should I install powerpc, powerpcspe, powerpc64 or powerpc64le?

  • 64-bit

    • Users of 64-bit bi-endian CPUs POWER8 and POWER9: can choose between FreeBSD/powerpc64 and FreeBSD/powerpc64le (big endian and little endian, respectively). The FreeBSD/powerpc64 (big endian) also supports running 32-bit binaries nativelly like other 64-bit platforms.

    • Users of 64-bit big endian CPUs Apple G5 and POWER7: FreeBSD/powerpc64 should be installed. Apple G5 users also have a choice of using the 32-bit FreeBSD/powerpc but FreeBSD/powerpc64 provides ZFS support and the ability of use more than 2 GB of RAM.

  • 32-bit

    • Users of 32-bit CPUs Apple G3/G4: should use FreeBSD/powerpc

    • Users of 32-bit CPUs Freescale MPC85XX (Routerboard RB800) and NXP QorIQ P1022 (AmigaOne A1222): should use FreeBSD/powerpcspe

Who should I contact?

The FreeBSD/ppc mailing list is the main resource.


Supported Hardware

The most up-to-date information about supported hardware is currently being maintained on the wiki.

The FreeBSD/ppc port should run on any New-World Apple machine (any Apple machine with a built-in USB port), as well as the Sony Playstation 3. FreeBSD/ppc port should also run on QEMU. Details can be found on powerpc/QEMU wiki.

People have previously reported that FreeBSD runs on the following machines:

Manufacturer Model Submitter (optional links) Release Arch Notes

A-EON

AmigaONE A1222

Justin Hibbits

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpcspe

A-EON

AmigaONE X5000

Justin Hibbits

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64

Apple

iMac G3 350 MHz

Martin Minkus

Rage 128VR

Apple

iMac G3 DV Special Edition

David S. Besade (dmesg)

None

Apple

iMac G3 Revision B

Peter Grehan

Rage 3D Pro 215GP, accel disabled

Apple

eMac 700 MHz

Peter Grehan

Nvidia GeForce2 MX

Apple

Mac Mini G4 1.4 GHz

Tilman Linneweh (dmesg)

None

Apple

Powerbook G4 1.33 GHz

Peter Grehan

Nvidia GeForce G5200

Apple

Aluminium Powerbook G4 1.5 GHz

Andreas Tobler

None

Apple

PowerMac G5

FreeBSD 8.0

Apple

iMac G5

FreeBSD 8.0

Apple

Xserve G5

FreeBSD 8.1

Apple

PowerMac G5 (late 2005)

FreeBSD 8.1

IBM

Power System S812L / 8247-21L (POWER8)

Leandro Lupori

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

IBM

Power System LC922 (POWER9)

Alfredo Dal’Ava Júnior

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

IBM

Power System IC922 (POWER9)

Alfredo Dal’Ava Júnior

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

verified with 1.5 TB of RAM

MikroTik

Routerboard RB800

Justin Hibbits

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpcspe

Raptor CS

Blackbird Secure Desktop (POWER9)

Alfredo Dal’Ava Júnior

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

Firmware v2.00, onboard HDMI

Raptor CS

Talos II Desktop Development System (POWER9)

Leandro Lupori

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

Firmware v2.00, onboard VGA

Raptor CS

Talos II 2U Rack Mount Server (POWER9)

Andre Silva

FreeBSD 13.0

powerpc64, powerpc64le

Firmware v2.00


FreeBSD/ppc mailing list

To subscribe to this list, send an email to <freebsd-ppc+subscribe@FreeBSD.org> or visit the mlmmj interface.


Known Issues

  • Raptor CS Blackbird and Talos II: recent firmware versions don’t report the onboard video framebuffer memory address on the device tree anymore. The workaround is append the content below to the kernel arguments during boot or set it permanently in /boot/etc/kboot.conf: :

    hw.ofwfb.physaddr=0x000600c280000000

    Note: FreeBSD 13.1, yet to be released, detects the memory address automatically using an alternative method

  • IBM POWER8 and POWER9: As of 2021-11-30 the firmware of IBM POWER9 and some IBM POWER8 machines contain a version of kexec-lite with a regression that computes FreeBSD kernel entry point erroneously. Workaround: on petitboot console download http://drop.rtk0.net/kexec and use it manually to load the kernel instead. Thanks Brandon Bergren for making the fixed binary available.

  • On New-World Apples, there is a known bug in the boot-loader, that prevents you from loading an alternate kernel, so testing your kernel is a bit risky. When booting the loader from the Open Firmware prompt, give it a partition which is either non-existent, doesn’t have a kernel to load, or isn’t a UFS partition:

    0 > boot hd:loader hd:0

    At this point, you can set currdev and manually load a kernel:

    OK set currdev="hd":14
    OK load /boot/kernel/kernel.save