FreeBSD gives ARM64 green light for production over x86 alternative's 'growth trajectory'

Unix-like operating system is hilarious – even the support is in tiers


The FreeBSD project will offer "Tier 1" support to 64-bit ARM processors in FreeBSD 13.0, expected to be released shortly. The only other Tier 1 platform is AMD64.

FreeBSD defines four tiers of platform support, with only Tier 1 fully supported for production use. Tier 1 architectures have official release images and full documentation. There is also a commitment that changes to the main tree of source code must not "knowingly break the build of a Tier 1 platform."

Tier 2 platforms are for developmental and niche architectures, or those reaching end of life. In FreeBSD 13, 32-bit x86 has been demoted to Tier 2 from Tier 1. There is a big difference: Tier 2 platforms are "not supported by the security officer, release engineering, and port management teams." Tier 3 platforms are "experimental" and Tier 4 means it is "not supported in any form." The full table of platform support is here.

The ARM64 news was posted by Ed Maste, senior director of technology at the FreeBSD Foundation. Maste said that development on FreeBSD/ARM64 started in 2014 with "generous financial and technical support from Arm."

In order to support its build infrastructure the project has acquired several of Avantek's pricy Ampere eMAG systems, and Maste also promised that "one or more low-cost reference platforms" will be suggested in future.

The reason for introducing full ARM64 support is not only the maturity of the port, but also that "the growth trajectory suggests this will be a significant portion of the market in the coming years," said Maste.

According to AWS, which offers servers running Graviton (a processor using 64-bit Arm Neoverse cores), there is "up to 40 per cent better price performance over comparable current generation x86 instances."

Apple is moving to Arm for the Mac with its new M1 chips, while Microsoft is said to be designing new Arm processors for both Azure servers and Surface devices.

servers

Microsoft is designing its own Arm-based data-center server, PC chips – report

READ MORE

FreeBSD 13 is very nearly done. The fifth release candidate build was issued on 3 April. The schedule suggests that a release announcement may come tomorrow. One thing it will not include is built-in support for the Wireguard VPN protocol following issues with the implementation.

The FreeBSD Core Team said: "WireGuard development for FreeBSD will now proceed outside of the base system." ®

Similar topics

Broader topics


Other stories you might like

  • AMD claims its GPUs beat Nvidia on performance per dollar
    * Terms, conditions, hardware specs and software may vary – a lot

    As a slowdown in PC sales brings down prices for graphics cards, AMD is hoping to win over the market's remaining buyers with a bold, new claim that its latest Radeon cards provide better performance for the dollar than Nvidia's most recent GeForce cards.

    In an image tweeted Monday by AMD's top gaming executive, the chip designer claims its lineup of Radeon RX 6000 cards provide better performance per dollar than competing ones from Nvidia, with all but two of the ten cards listed offering advantages in the double-digit percentages. AMD also claims to provide better performance for the power required by each card in all but two of the cards.

    Continue reading
  • Google opens the pod doors on Bay View campus
    A futuristic design won't make people want to come back – just ask Apple

    After nearly a decade of planning and five years of construction, Google is cutting the ribbon on its Bay View campus, the first that Google itself designed.

    The Bay View campus in Mountain View – slated to open this week – consists of two office buildings (one of which, Charleston East, is still under construction), 20 acres of open space, a 1,000-person event center and 240 short-term accommodations for Google employees. The search giant said the buildings at Bay View total 1.1 million square feet. For reference, that's less than half the size of Apple's spaceship. 

    The roofs on the two main buildings, which look like pavilions roofed in sails, were designed that way for a purpose: They're a network of 90,000 scale-like solar panels nicknamed "dragonscales" for their layout and shimmer. By scaling the tiles, Google said the design minimises damage from wind, rain and snow, and the sloped pavilion-like roof improves solar capture by adding additional curves in the roof. 

    Continue reading
  • Pentester pops open Tesla Model 3 using low-cost Bluetooth module
    Anything that uses proximity-based BLE is vulnerable, claim researchers

    Tesla Model 3 and Y owners, beware: the passive entry feature on your vehicle could potentially be hoodwinked by a relay attack, leading to the theft of the flash motor.

    Discovered and demonstrated by researchers at NCC Group, the technique involves relaying the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) signals from a smartphone that has been paired with a Tesla back to the vehicle. Far from simply unlocking the door, this hack lets a miscreant start the car and drive away, too.

    Essentially, what happens is this: the paired smartphone should be physically close by the Tesla to unlock it. NCC's technique involves one gadget near the paired phone, and another gadget near the car. The phone-side gadget relays signals from the phone to the car-side gadget, which forwards them to the vehicle to unlock and start it. This shouldn't normally happen because the phone and car are so far apart. The car has a defense mechanism – based on measuring transmission latency to detect that a paired device is too far away – that ideally prevents relayed signals from working, though this can be defeated by simply cutting the latency of the relay process.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022