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Raspberry Pi support has been merged into FreeBSD-CURRENT a few months ago. However the latest installation instructions still involve a lengthy process of cross-compiling the entire OS on another machine to create an installation image.

I realise it's early days for this (and performance won't be great), but is there a quicker way to play around with FreeBSD on my RPi for a bit? Did anyone publish some pre made images of recent builds perhaps?

  • 1
    Ohh this is a brilliant question! I never thought of doing it but I am sure it is possbiel as FreeBSD runs on many types of processors, ie routers, phone switches,etc.. Nice +1 (Allan will know ;) ) – Piotr Kula Oct 23 '12 at 11:42
  • FreeBSD-Current Image file provided above, won't boot. Something wrong with MBR/bootloader... – user3293 Nov 14 '12 at 18:40
  • Possible duplicate of Can I run FreeBSD on my Pi? - as the answers appear to have changed rather significantly since 2012. – Aurora0001 Apr 6 '18 at 9:21
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Update 2014-01-29: It has just been announced that the arm/armv6 snapshot images for Raspberry Pi are now being pushed up to the FreeBSD FTP servers on a weekly basis. You can download a copy from your local FreeBSD FTP mirror, in the /pub/FreeBSD/snapshots/ISO-IMAGES/ folder.

Update 2014-01-28: Glen Barber kindly published this SD image of the recent FreeBSD 10.0-RELEASE, which has also made huge progress in supporting the hardware. So just grab that for the easiest way to install (of course you can still build your own too).

Update 2012-10-30: Updated image and instructions to latest CVS - now with root on SD

I've set up a VM and built the image myself - here's the result.

Caveats

Although there's been lots of progress, keep in mind it's still early days and you're playing around with prerelease code. Don't put this in production.

Stuff that isn't working yet (in this particular checkout):

  • USB keyboard (at least mine doesn't work, despite being recognised - YMMV)
  • U-boot doesn't seem to care about uEnv.txt, so the root fs location is hardcoded in the kernel
  • The build has lots of debug options enabled, so don't go benchmarking it
  • This is FreeBSD-CURRENT on a newly added platform - expect it to blow up in your face and burn holes in your carpet

FreeBSD image for Raspberry Pi

Not scared yet? Fine, grab my prebuilt image:

Decompress this and write it to a SD card (at least 1 GB), then plug it in your Raspberry Pi and power it up. The framebuffer works, so after a few seconds you should see boot messages scrolling by and if you have a network cable plugged in you should eventually see a DHCP assigned address.

enter image description here

Now you can ssh in, using login root and password raspberry:

FreeBSD 10.0-CURRENT (RPI-Bsc) #10: Tue Oct 30 17:23:44 GMT 2012

Welcome to FreeBSD!

(optional) Building your own

This being CURRENT, it's bound to be out of date by the time you read this. So if you want the latest version, you can do what I did and build it. To do so, you need to follow FreeBSD-CURRENT, grab my build script and RPS-Bsc kernel config (goes into /usr/src/sys/arm/conf/) and run it. Depending on your machine, this could take a few hours.

Good luck and thanks to the nice people making FreeBSD.

  • I get access denied for the image and the kernel config. Is there an alternative source for them? – Craig Nov 5 '12 at 20:00
  • @Craig: Fixed the links, should work now. – Ingmar Hupp Nov 6 '12 at 14:36
  • Is it possible to resize the image after writing it to the SD card? – Giorgio Sep 1 '16 at 22:23
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Much has improved over the last few years. These days (early 2018) the process is very easy. There are ready-built images available for most (all) of the boards and the install process is quite easy to follow. Basically you:

  1. Download an SD card image (both STABLE and CURRENT images are available, for version 3 boards look here for the 64-bit CURRENT build) details of what's working is on the wiki.
  2. Decompress the image (xz --decompress ...).
  3. Then dd the image to an empty SD or microSD card (dd if=<FreeBSD image file> of=/dev/<SD card mount> bs=1M) – it will take a while, control-T will let you "watch the pot."
  4. Install the card and apply power to boot.

Once the Pi is up and running, login – ssh, keyboard & display, or serial all work (for credentials use freebsd/freebsd over ssh or you can also login with root/root if you're local) and have fun.

You can find more info on the FreeBSD Wiki and nice walk throughs here and here - watch out though, apparently images used to get built with the default login set to freebsd/freebsd and at least one "reputable" source (the first walk through I link to) still claim those are the default credentials.

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